AFT 2121/CFT lawsuit seeks injunction, restitution from ACCJC

Dear faculty and friends of City College:

Today, AFT 2121, the California Federation of Teachers, and a number of individuals announced a lawsuit against the accreditors who have revoked City College’s accreditation as of July 2014. The suit, filed in San Francisco Superior Court, charges that the ACCJC engaged in unfair and unlawful business practices in sanctioning City College. It argues that these reckless actions have already caused harm to students, faculty, and other employees of City College, and will cause much greater harm both to them and to San Francisco if the college closes.

This action complements the one taken last month by City Attorney Dennis Herrera. It seeks to restore City College’s accreditation now through an injunction and gain restitution for monies and property lost as a result of ACCJC’s actions. The long-term health and sustainability of our college, and our ability to recover from the damage to enrollment, make this crucial. Click here to download CFT and AFT Local 2121 Class Action Complaint for Injunctive Relief (pdf, 4 Mb).

While we support all avenues to maintaining our accreditation, we have concluded that we cannot simply wait in hopes that a slow and secretive appeal might yield something productive in a process that has already, repeatedly, proven biased against our institution. Such a process leaves everything in the hands of a body that uses policies, procedures, and practices to deny colleges fair procedure and due process.

The quality of the education we offer students at City College is clear and is not in question. Our college needs accreditation, and does not deserve to have lost it. Accreditation should ensure educational quality and ensure that institutions are meeting standards so that the public can trust the quality of the educational experience.

Most of us agree that City College has things to work on and that there are improvements we can and should make as an institution. (Some of those improvements, in fact, are things students and workers at the college have been clamoring for.) But unusable bathrooms, dialogue that is too little or too loud or too contentious, perpetually incorrect paychecks, even overall administration of the district’s finances—these are not reasons to shut down a college. As Assemblymember Tom Ammiano so aptly put it, recalling the Vietnam War, ‘You don’t destroy the village to save it.’

We will provide overview material about the lawsuit on this website, and we’ll keep you up to date as things proceed. In the meantime, we have much to do for our students, each other, and the college. Among other things, that includes participating in upcoming forums for new administrators and especially the process of selecting our new, permanent chancellor (the advisory search committee completed a final set of interviews last week). And we’ll have a chance to try yet again to settle our expired contract on Wednesday, this time under the auspices of a state mediator. This is our first meeting in over a month, since management walked away from the table and declared impasse. Please join us.

In unity,

Alisa Messer,

President, AFT 2121

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