City College supporters came out in force to City Hall on Friday for a rally and hearing about David Compos’ resolution calling on State Chancellor Brice Harris to restore CCSF’s duly elected Board of Trustees.
“It is time to put voters back in charge of our community college,” said Supervisor David Campos. “We cannot continue to allow our open and transparent democratic process to be replaced by closed-door, unilateral decision making. Our community should be engaged in decisions regarding City College – not a single administrator.”
Friday’s event came a day after a student rally at CCSF protesting a new tuition payment policy and calling for the resignation of the state-appointed trustee; two students were arrested at the rally, one of them pepper-sprayed.
AFT 2121 and other CCSF supporters had raised the issue of local control and decision-making at the college in coordinated actions. On Thursday afternoon at the CCSF Chinatown Campus, community speakers urged the CCSF administration to ensure meaningful public input from the community and college constituents in drafting the Education Master Plan.
Campos introduced the resolution noting that the new payment policy students had been protesting at their Conan Hall sit-in was unilaterally implemented by management.
Trustees Anita Greer and John Rizzo were among those who presented compelling reasons to bring back local governance and control. “How ridiculous is it to have a board of one person?” Grier asked to applause. “We need to get the board of seven and the student trustee back so that we can do our job.”
CCSF student Dimitrios Philliou had been pepper-sprayed and detained the day before at a sit-in at Conlan Hall, but that didn’t deter him from speaking up. “Yesterday a group of passionate students protested peacefully requesting dialogue with the Super Trustee who seems to have the power of invisibility.” Without a functioning Board of Trustees, such dialogue now appears impossible.
Describing the importance of decisions made by faculty and workers at the front lines of serving students, Edgar Torres, Latin American and Latino Studies chair, said, “The majority of department chairs base their programs on grassroots connections.” Over three dozen other faculty, students, and supporters also spoke and offered moving testimonials.
“Now we have an institutionalized process with people who make decisions in a little bubble,” said Tim Killikelly, who teaches political science at CCSF and serves on the AFT 2121 executive board. Referring to the Special Trustee, he asked, “How can anybody – Bob Agrella – make good decisions by doing that? And we’ve seen bad decisions over and over: from the Salarygate issue, to the Performing Arts Center, to [having] no oversight committee for Prop A.”
Supervisor Eric Mar, who cosponsored the resolution with Campos, commended the students and AFT 2121 among other groups in concluding remarks. “This resolution is urging other bodies with power to make decisions for justice as you’re demanding. Keep organizing and making demands of the system so that we don’t let privatization and corporatization of education win.”
The resolution has the support of eight supervisors and will be presented to the full Board of Supervisors on March 25th.