City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed dual legal challenges on August 22nd, picking up where the letter from the DOE left off in challenging the ACCJC to play by the rules. The ACCJC plans to revoke City College’s accreditation after July 2014; a successful suit could prevent closure of the college.
Herrera’s lawsuit against the ACCJC alleges that the commission unlawfully engaged in political activities that biased its evaluation of City College’s accreditation. Herrera notes that the ACCJC has advocated to dramatically reshape California’s community colleges by narrowing their mission and excluding vocational, remedial and non-credit offerings that do not lead to degree attainment or transfer. The controversial political agenda—whose proponents include conservative groups, for-profit colleges, and corporate student lenders—represents a significant departure from the abiding “open access” mission that CCSF advocates vocally defended before the Student Success Act became law. Herrera’s civil action alleges that the commission acted to withdraw accreditation “in retaliation for City College having embraced and advocated a different vision for California’s community colleges than the ACCJC itself.”
In a separate suit, Herrera targeted improper actions by the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges, which oversees the state’s 112 community colleges and 72 community college districts. The legal challenge alleges that the board surrendered its role in setting standards and determining eligibility for public funding to an unaccountable entity in the ACCJC.
“Nothing about the actions I’ve filed today should distract or delay City College from doing everything in its power to solve the problems threatening its survival,” said Herrera. “But neither should these steps tempt accreditors to consider – for even one moment – retaliating against City College for legitimate challenges to their conduct and authority under the law.”