Community College Board of Govenors expands own authority

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, November 13, 2013
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Community College Board of Governors expands own authority

Move makes removal of elected CCSF trustees permanent

Sacramento—The Community College Board of Governors (BoG) voted yesterday to ratify the ‘emergency’ authority under which they acted in July to install the “Special Trustee With Extraordinary Powers” at City College of San Francisco and remove the democratically elected local Board of Trustees.  This action served to permanently expand the circumstances under which the BoG can appoint a special Trustee to include cases in which "a college is in danger of losing accreditation."

CFT Community College Council president Jim Mahler spoke against the action.  He noted that the "fiscal crisis" under which the BoG initially took this action (as defined in Title 5 BoG regulations) has not been adequately addressed by the Special Trustee.  Consequently enrollment continues to decline at the college.  Said Mahler, “The central reason why City College now faces a fiscal crisis is the decision by the ACCJC first to place the college on “Show Cause,” and then to close the college.  This has resulted in enormous negative publicity unnecessarily creating concerns about whether the school will remain open, and provoking an exodus of thousands of students.  The Special Trustee refuses to recognize this as the cause of CCSF’s fiscal crisis.  The decision to strip the elected trustees of their office is not the panacea for the real problems facing CCSF.”  Mahler called for the immediate reinstatement of the elected CCSF Board members. 

CFT president Joshua Pechthalt added, “CCSF’s special trustee has chosen to address the college’s appeal to ACCJC as if the U.S. Department of Education had never sent its August 13 letter to the ACCJC confirming the CFT’s charges of ACCJC conflict of interest, failure to select a balanced site visit team, and lack of clarity in distinguishing ‘recommendations’ and ‘deficiencies’ in its San Francisco decision.  Now the Board of Governors is ignoring the same elephant in the room.”

AFT Local 2121 president Alisa Messer, representing faculty at CCSF, said, “The BoG decision confuses one already-solved fiscal crisis with a new one brought on by ACCJC actions. Years of underfunding, administrative failure, and the Great Recession caused significant financial instability at the college.  That problem was addressed by the passage of Propositions A and 30 in November 2012, along with cuts, efficiencies, and employee sacrifices.  A new hole—really a gaping cavern—was blown in CCSF's budget by the ACCJC’s sanctions. The decision by the Board of Governors to undermine the democratic will of San Francisco voters, whose elected trustees are now sidelined, does nothing to fix this crisis, the main source of which is located in Novato at the headquarters of the ACCJC.”

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