WHEREAS, City College of San Francisco (CCSF) provides high-quality education, offering an array of both for-credit and noncredit courses to serve the needs of the wider community; and
WHEREAS, CCSF serves nearly 90,000 students each year, most of whom come from disadvantaged communities (i.e., working families and households, people of color and immigrants)1; and
WHEREAS, CCSF students perform above average among California community colleges on student success measures such as retention, persistence and college completion rates2; and
WHEREAS, CCSF, along with the rest of the state’s community colleges, has had to deal with budget reductions of 12 percent since 2008, but has managed to keep cutbacks out of the classroom and to maintain the college’s priority focus on instruction3; and
WHEREAS, AFT 2121, the local union representing faculty at CCSF, has bargained what many consider a model contract for the fair treatment of employees that has helped foster the high- quality education the college is able to provide its students; and
WHEREAS, despite CCSF’s nationally recognized high-quality and successful programs, CCSF was placed under a “show cause” sanction by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) in July 20124; and
WHEREAS, the CCSF administration cut class offerings, student support services and opportunities for student employment, and unilaterally imposed severe pay cuts, workload speedups, layoffs and furlough days under the guise of responding to this sanction—while failing to make necessary corrections to the fiscal mismanagement of the college; and
WHEREAS, the administration carried out these attacks on CCSF programs despite the passage in November, 2012–by an overwhelming 73 percent of San Francisco voters–of Proposition A, which for the next eight years will bring $14 million to $16 million in additional resources each year to CCSF, enough to support a rollback of those cuts5; and
WHEREAS, despite significant changes at the college in response to the ACCJC sanctions, the ACCJC determined that the college was still not in compliance and has acted to terminate the college’s accreditation as of July 2014, leading to the potential closure of this incredibly important institution of higher education and leaving the 824,000 residents of San Francisco without a community college6; and
WHEREAS, the actions of ACCJC have effectively weakened the institution’s ability to improve, remain financially viable and continue providing high-quality education; and
WHEREAS, the ACCJC record indicates an accrediting agency that is wholly out of line with the rest of the regional accrediting system in this country7; and
WHEREAS, a high-quality and affordable public education that provides lifelong learning, workplace and life skills, and cultural and personal enrichment should be seen as a public good rather than as a private benefit only for the privileged:
RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers will continue to support AFT 2121 and the California Federation of Teachers (CFT) in the areas of collective bargaining, strategic research, community organizing and political advocacy to ensure that CCSF remains open to all who seek affordable, high-quality higher education in the city of San Francisco; and
RESOLVED, that the AFT will continue to support AFT 2121 and CFT in their complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Education, and will encourage the department to insist on better transparency and accountability of the processes employed by ACCJC; and
RESOLVED, that the AFT will work to promote and protect community college funding to preserve these valuable community institutions not only as pathways to certificates and degrees, but also as important sites for community and continuing education.
. . . . .
1 “At the college’s Chinatown campus, CCSF student Trustee Shannel Williams called the decision made public last week by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) an outrage and an attack on the working class. ‘If we lose City College of San Francisco, we are losing the heart of this city. The ACCJC is willing to displace 90,000 students,’ she said.” http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2013/07/09/group-rallies-to-keep-sf-city- college-open-amid-closure-threat/.
2 California Community College Student Success Scorecard, http://www.californiacommunitycolleges.cccco.edu/PolicyInAction/StudentSuccessInitiative.aspx.
5 http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/City_College_of_San_Francisco_parcel_tax,_Proposition_A_(November_2012), http://www.sfexaminer.com/sanfrancisco/ccsf-parcel-tax-parks-bond-among-san-francisco-propositions-that-pass/Content?oid=2318211.