President’s Message: How do you count an empty seat? Cuts are worse than we thought!

Fellow Faculty,

The proposed cuts to our college are worse than we thought!

Yesterday, an unsigned email from the Employee Relations Office arrived in CCSF employee inboxes. Its aim was to refute AFT 2121’s claim that Guy Lease and Susan Lamb’s plan to reduce CCSF class offerings by 26% amounts to “downsizing” the college.

The email did not address our major concerns.

They claim they are not “downsizing” the college but merely “aligning” the course offerings. The only difference we can discern between “aligning” and “downsizing” is that Guy Lease and Susan Lamb think saying “aligning” sounds better.

The implementation of cuts are actually LARGER than what we had been led to believe. They are making cuts not from what classes were offered in previous semesters, but from what classes occurred after they cancelled classes. This would reduce the total number of course offerings even further. We are in the process of figuring out what is the ACTUAL cut.

How do you count an empty seat?

Much was made of so-called “empty seats” necessitating cuts. Does the email refer to literal empty seats? Or the difference between enrolled students and the class size cap? If so, how are seats counted in classes with enrollment exceeding the cap?

Second, the email fails to consider the needs of the students that are currently filling seats. If the District proceeds with cutting classes on its current timeline to do so, where will those students go for education? To claim that we can reduce programs dramatically and not lose more students (leading to further cuts) makes no sense.

The stabilization funding that Mark Leno secured for CCSF was meant precisely to combat the possibility of such a “death spiral,” and sequestering the funds in reserve to prepare for future enrollment declines is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

What’s really empty is the vision for CCSF outlined in this unsigned email. It is a vision of a dramatically smaller City College of San Francisco. Meanwhile, there is no evidence that the nearly 40,000 students we lost during the accreditation crisis have sought education elsewhere. CIty College needs to be there for students. Our students deserve better than to go without or be forced into debt because expensive private schools seem to be their only option.

AFT 2121 has been instrumental in leading the movement against the ACCJC. Our members have been out in the street with students and community to save CCSF. Although our struggle is not over, the California Community Colleges Board of Governors voted unanimously to look for a new accreditor and get rid of the ACCJC! Without our work that would not have happened. And we will keep fighting for our City College: the City College San Franciscans deserve!

In our vision for CCSF, faculty can afford to live in the city we serve and CCSF is a great place for students to learn and for faculty to work. That is why we have called for a one-day strike to protest District bad faith bargaining in faculty contract negotiations. Vote YES starting Friday!

In Unity,

Tim Killikelly
President, AFT 2121

Posted in Accreditation, E-news Archives, iamcitycollege, President's message

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