FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, July 8, 2013
“We believe Chancellor Harris and the Board of Governors are interested in helping restore City College of San Francisco’s accreditation. The CFT will continue to support the City College community in its effort to restore accreditation but we are deeply troubled by a process that circumvents the democratically elected Board of Trustee’s of the College,” said Joshua Pechthalt, CFT President.
“City College has provided an outstanding and robust academic program for countless Bay Area residents for generations. This effort to restore accreditation must not be the pretext for punishing nor scapegoating students, faculty, staff and the San Francisco community,” said Pechthalt.
The following statement was presented before the California Community College Board of Governor’s Public Meeting Regarding ACCJC’s decision to deny accreditation to CCSF, by Monica Henestroza, Legislative Director, on behalf of the California Federation of Teachers, AFT, AFL-CIO
“The CFT and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) local 2121 vehemently oppose the decision of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) to deny accreditation to the City College of San Francisco (CCSF) effective July 2014.
“This punitive action by the Commission denying accreditation to CCSF, coming on the heels of numerous protests over serious conflicts of interest by the Commission’s president and other representatives, and violations of Federal and State law, reveals the extent to which the Commission is out-oftouch with its primary mission of working collaboratively with member colleges in order to assist them in meeting Federal requirements for the benefit of their students.
“The Commission needs to be opened up to a rigorous and thorough review of their approach to the accrediting process by our elected leaders and the government bodies responsible for overseeing the Commission. ACCJC’s decision to terminate CCSF’s accreditation is certainly its most appalling decision, but the entire California community college system has been
victimized by the high-handed, arbitrary and vindictive approach that has characterized the work of the Commission under its current leadership for the last decade.
“Although we applaud Chancellor Harris and the Board of Governors for taking steps to appeal this unjust decision, we have both doubts and questions about the actions being taken today. Most notably, in the case of disaccreditation of Compton Community College District, the ACCJC determined that the College was in violation of Standard One because it did not have a functioning board of its own. In affirming its 2005 disaccreditation of Compton, the Commission specifically relied on the continued appointment of a special trustee to disaccredit, writing:
‘The Commission notes that the Chancellor chose to extend [the authority of the special trustee] in June 2005 rather than returning the operations of Compton to its Board of Trustees.’
“Ultimately, we have a tremendous level of skepticism that the accreditation climate for California community colleges can normalize or that the educational futures of the Bay Area’s deserving students can be restored as long as ACCJC is allowed to continue operating with its current leadership and no effective oversight.
“Since last summer City College has turned itself upside down to address the ACCJC’s demands. Much has been achieved, but still CCSF, which has served so many so well, is now facing extreme risk of a completely unnecessary closure. More than 80,000 students would be denied access to the quality education CCSF provides.
“We are additionally concerned that today’s action by the Board of Governors will contribute to significant downward pressure on this fall’s enrollment. Without aggressive community outreach and a comprehensive public relations plan geared to bolster enrollment -- something the administration over the last year failed at miserably -- a downward spiral of enrollment decline followed by loss of funding leading to shrinking the number of course offerings and then fewer students, etc., could ensue.
“We hope that in the days and weeks ahead we will witness a new commitment to openness, transparency and accountability that will lead to a real inclusive process allowing for the many dedicated people at the college and throughout the Bay Area to lend their support and participate in a process of renewal and rebuilding of this vital California resource.
“The CFT and AFT 2121 believe a robust, thorough, and transparent accrediting process conducted by qualified and legitimate educators -- and that engages the entire education community -- is critical to developworkable short and long term strategies for strengthening academic achievement.
“We want CCSF to be an even stronger, better college. And we want an Accrediting Commission that follows state and federal law and its own policies and procedures and that works in partnership with its member institutions.”