Whose college?

San Franciscans decry loss of City College classes — but will the new "Super Trustee" listen?

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Can Super Trustee save City College? Or are the burdens now placed on one outsider too much to overcome? Stay tuned.
GUARDIAN ILLUSTRATION BY ANTHONY MATA

[UPDATE: As this article was going to press, the ACCJC had its own accreditation threatened over its treatment of City College.]

City College will survive, it will stay open, it will prevail.

At least, that's what the school's 85,000 students and over 1,600 faculty are saying. Praying, really.

In July, the college was hit with a black eye from its accreditors, the Association of California Community and Junior Colleges, and informed that it would be losing its accreditation in exactly one year. Loss of accreditation would mean no state funding, no federal funding, and degrees would no longer be recognized.

 

The college has one year to shape up and meet 14 requirements mandated by the accreditation commission. But in trying to meet those requirements, the college itself may change its course offerings and eliminate classes that serve as critical resources for working-class students.

It's only been a month and a half since the damning news hit the college, but things are already starting to look very different. Meanwhile, dissenters who've raised concerns about the new direction things are taking complain that they've been silenced at every turn — their public forums dissolved and their elected board removed.

Critics also say Bob Agrella, who was given the decision-making power of San Francisco's locally elected Board of Trustees when the state chancellor appointed him Special Trustee with Extraordinary Powers — earning him the nickname Super Trustee — isn't listening.

 

IMMIGRANT GROUP SPEAKS OUT

Much of the outcry at City College revolves around a potential loss of classes that serve communities of color in San Francisco. While activist group Save CCSF has led the charge for the past year, other advocacy groups are now jumping into the fray to air concerns from a different perspective.

Local activists with Chinese for Affirmative Action held a press conference on July 8, decrying the potential closure of City College as an issue affecting all San Francisco immigrants.

"The closure of City College is nothing short of a civil rights crisis," said Vincent Pan, executive director of CAA.

Pan read off statistics that should have every San Franciscan worried. Students enrolled in City College's non-credit section, which offers English as Second Language classes and certification training for electricians, mechanics and firefighters, are 75 percent people of color. Those non-credit classes are the most likely to be eliminated, Pan said.

Student groups have been concerned for some time over the reformation of the college's mission statement, which establishes funding priorities as well as values. The accrediting commission had City College change that mission statement to prioritize transfer students and those seeking associates degrees. As a result, non-credit classes could be cut in the name of austerity, raising alarm for CAA.

"If the college served 70 percent white, affluent students there'd be an outcry," Pan told the Guardian. But poor communities of color have less of a voice in our political system, and the programs that benefit them may soon get the ax, he said.

That's a shame. One student at the conference, Victoria Chan, said that "growing up around sweatshops in Chinatown, I feared injustices you wouldn't expect in San Francisco." She shared her experience of being told by sweatshop owners, who employed her grandmother, that she'd never escape that life.

It was her first college course at City College, she said, that helped pull her up and out.

Comments

Why do these losers always try and make everything a race issue?

There are poor whites who attend CCSF and there are rich non-whites who do not.

CCSF failed because it is a flawed organization. It should be closed down and something new started up, preferably with private money so it is not a burden on the taxpayer.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 17, 2013 @ 2:01 pm

The productive departments such as culinary arts, paramedics etc. should be spun off and run by other colleges. All other departments/studies should be closed. All assets will be sold to pay off debt. The city and state should assume the outstanding debt not covered by sale of assets. Agrella should work with SF to work out severance pay package for staff and instructors.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 18, 2013 @ 2:37 pm
Posted by Guest on Aug. 18, 2013 @ 2:53 pm

Computer science, physics, math, nursing, medical technology, architecture, computer aided design, biology, graphic design, chemistry, etc, aren't "productive?"

Teaching immigrants to speak English and giving them entry-level job skills isn't "productive?"

Teaching young people and immigrants about the history and government of the US isn't "productive?"

Training people to be teachers isn't "productive?"

Posted by Guest on Aug. 18, 2013 @ 4:52 pm

Perhaps CCSF needs to find a focus and, you know - FOCUS on that. This myriad of different departments just dilutes its ability to be really good in a few select areas.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Aug. 18, 2013 @ 5:18 pm

They should be careful what they wish for - Chinese are over-represented in the state's top schools and have a per capita income which exceeds other races. Using the principles of affirmative action we may need to start limiting their enrollment at places like Cal & UCSF and seeking to "redistribute" some of their ill-gotten gains to other, more deserving races.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Aug. 18, 2013 @ 4:31 pm

We must immediately start arresting more Asians.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 20, 2013 @ 9:37 am

Potential CCSF closure is a direct result of voter-supported laws affecting tax legislation. California's Proposition 13, voter-driven legislation enacted in 1978, slashed the State tax base for education. Any bill with tax increases requires a two-thirds vote in the State Legislature, limiting success of tax support legislation. Together, these have created educational budgets inadequate to support the institutions in place. Community colleges, the California State Universities, and the Universities of California are unable to meet students' needs for affordable education, communities' needs for education and training resources, and employers' needs for a trained and educated workforce. While it is important to resolve the immediate problems besetting CCSF, new problems will arise if the State voters and administration refuse to fund education.

This basic problem of the State education systems must be attacked at the root. Voters, legislators, and State administrations must act to increase state funding of our institutions of higher education. San Francisco has some of the highest wages in the country; California has the sixth-highest average income in the nation. Continued inaction on the State education tax base will only support the idea that politically active Californians do not care about the quality and availability of public education.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 23, 2013 @ 5:48 pm

It is really interesting what you said, I saw some good colleges there!

Posted by yachtbooker.de on Jan. 09, 2014 @ 2:44 am

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