By Bruce Wolfe, HANC President
Every accredited college and university comes under review to from time to time to renew its accreditation. This accreditation is essential in the value and certification to the degrees and programs it provides and acceptance by other colleges (in the case of transfer students) and employers. Some background best told by the community coalition, Save City College (http://www.saveccsf.org/about/):
“In July 2012, the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) put CCSF on a sanction of “show cause” – one level from losing accreditation entirely – a death knell for a college. In July 2013, the ACCJC said that CCSF will lose its accreditation in July 2014, unless through an appeal process, this decision is reversed. In June 2013, the ACCJC had severed itself from the WASC (Western Association of School and Colleges) parent group thereby eliminating any objective agency above the ACCJC hearing an appeal.
“The sanction is not about a dysfunctional college. CCSF has problems that need fixing, as all large institutions do, however these problems do not match the severity of the sanction. The sanction is about forces of privatization that are working to downsize public education and push students into for-profit schools which will saddle them with debt. The ACCJC is a private corporation that gets public money as well as private funds from pro-privatization sources such as the Lumina Foundation. Many in the higher education community believe that the ACCJC has become a “rogue” institution that is riddled with conflicts of interest and violations of law.
“During this accreditation process, the threat of closure has been used to force drastic changes at CCSF that do not benefit the college or the community. In the name of this manufactured “crisis”, student programs and services have been cut, classified staff and teachers laid off, computer labs closed, and faculty and staff wages cut.”
Currently, CCSF is on “restoration status” meaning it has two years to meet all ACCJC standards. Additionally, in this past election, voters approved Prop W which the SF Board of Supervisors now seek to use to make CCSF free of charge again as it once was at its inception. Now with the Supervisors’ approval last June to make this happen, it is up to Mayor Ed Lee now to follow through and allow the revenue from Prop W to pay for it. The Mayor has proposed it, but with conditions.
This month’s membership meeting invites two CCSF Trustees to give us an update: John Rizzo, a long time Haight Ashbury resident, and newly-elected trustee, Shanell Williams, who received the highest vote in this past November’s CCSF Trustee election. A former CCSF student and the student representative trusteee, she is also the youngest to run for this seat and receive this kind of recognition at the ballot box.