On Wednesday, September 25th, San Francisco’s Democratic County Central Committee passed the resolution below—which speaks to the value of City College of San Francisco, the injury done to the college by the ACCJC, and concerns about the Accreditation Commission’s practices—without any opposition. Co-sponsored by CCSF Trustee Rafael Mandelman, SF Supervisors Scott Wiener, David Campos, David Chiu, John Avalos, and Malia Cohen, and DCCC Members Matt Dorsey, Carole Migden, Bill Fazio, Hene Kelly, Petra DeJesus, Leah Pimentel, Kelly Dwyer, Leslie Katz, and Assemblymember Tom Ammiano.
WHEREAS, City College of San Francisco (CCSF) is among the highest rated community colleges in the nation and serves the Bay Area with distinction by providing a valuable and much needed resource for San Franciscans at every stage of life and from every neighborhood – enrolling nearly 90,000 students in both for-credit and noncredit courses each year, making available the only affordable path to educational and economic opportunity for many students (a path that is especially critical for students of color, immigrant students, disabled students and economically disadvantaged students), providing the vocational training for businesses that are the economic backbone of the City (including restaurants, body shops, airline maintenance, and the building trades), and not least importantly training the first responders in our police and fire departments, schools and hospitals so that they may supply the services and protection the residents of the City expect and demand; and
WHEREAS, the Accrediting Commission of Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) has done injury to CCSF and to San Francisco by: 1) in July 2012 placing City College, which it had never previously sanctioned, on “Show Cause” – its highest level of sanction, and providing less than a year for CCSF to fully address a range of financial, administrative and governance problems or be subject to de-accreditation and closure; 2) treating the significant progress the College had made in addressing each of the Commission’s recommendations over the subsequent year as insufficient to avoid de-accreditation of the College, effective July 2014; 3) causing a financial crisis at the College by causing the college to lose thousands of students – a 15% decline in enrollment in 2012-13 and an additional decline in enrollment of nearly 10% for the fall of 2013; 4) making it harder to recruit and retain the excellent faculty, staff and administrators upon whom the reform and success of City College would depend; and 5) precipitating the removal of the College’s democratically elected Board of Trustees; and
WHEREAS, the California Federation of Teachers (CFT) and others have raised serious and well-documented claims about the ACCJC’s lack of fairness, accountability, transparency, and integrity in its relations with many California community colleges (including CCSF) and the US Department of Education (DOE) has determined in an August 13, 2013 letter to the ACCJC that the ACCJC’s accreditation review process does not meet DOE criteria for recognition of accrediting agencies, citing in particular 1) the ACCJC’s failure to ensure adequate representation of both academic and administrative personnel on its evaluation teams, 2) its failure to establish clear and effective controls against conflicts of interest and the appearance of conflicts of interests, 3) its failure to clearly identify institutional deficiencies and consequent failure to afford regulated institutions adequate due process, and 4) its failure to consistently apply its own standards for accreditation, and San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera has filed a lawsuit against the ACCJC alleging that the private agency unlawfully allowed its advocacy and political bias to prejudice its evaluation of college accreditation standards.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOVED that the San Francisco Democratic Party expresses its strong support for City College and its deep concern and outrage regarding the ACCJC’s decision to terminate City College’s accreditation, commends City Attorney Dennis Herrera for taking action to ensure the survival of City College, and calls on all San Francisco elected officials to do everything in their power to ensure that City College remains open and continues to provide the rich variety of classes and programs that San Franciscans have come to expect by 1) supporting the efforts of the City College administrators, faculty and staff to address the serious administrative, financial and governance challenges facing the College; 2) calling for an investigation of ACCJC’s practices by the state legislature through hearings to determine what actions may be necessary and appropriate to reform the ACCJC or implement an alternative accreditation regime that will better serve the California public by supporting a robust, fair, and productive accreditation process that upholds quality education; and 3) working to secure the additional financial resources that will be necessary to support and sustain City College as it attempts to weather the impending financial crisis brought about by the ACCJC’s actions.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution shall be forwarded to the State Party for consideration as a resolution of the California Democratic Party at the soonest available opportunity.
Sponsored by Rafael Mandelman, Scott Wiener, David Campos, David Chiu, John Avalos, Matt Dorsey, Carole Migden, Bill Fazio, Hene Kelly, Petra DeJesus, Leah Pimentel, Kelly Dwyer, Tom Ammiano, Leslie Katz and Malia Cohen