CCSF board approves report to accreditors amid heavy criticism

CCSF students, faculty, and other supporters swarmed the meeting where the board approved concessions requested by accreditors.
Joe Fitzgerald

Windsong, a 21-year-old City College student, held a sign that read “I love CCSF” while standing along Ocean Avenue last evening, as cars rolled by honking their support for the embattled school.

“I love learning while not being bound by the four-year school structure,” she said. She’s an artist in residence at a local elementary school, and was protesting to make sure City College of San Francisco could give her students the same opportunities she had.

“This place is in my heart,” she said. And she wasn’t alone.

Nearly 200 protesters lined the building outside of City College’s board of trustees meeting last night as the CCSF Board of Trustees approved the school’s “Show Cause” report, which is a 220-page document detailing what the college has done to meet its accreditation requirements -- accreditation is required for a college degree to have worth, and for a school to receive state funding.

In short, it’s a document arguing what the college has done to improve since it was hit with sanctions last October, and why it should stay open and accredited. The report is due to the accreditation commission on March 15.

The Accrediting Commission of Community and Junior Colleges hit City College with a “show cause” sanction, citing a lack of progress in six problem areas the school was supposed to address since its last accreditation review six years before. When the accrediting commission came back to check on the school, it concluded City College had yet to address key areas, including measuring Student Learning Outcomes, and adequately funding their reserve, a “rainy day fund” the college leans on in hard times.

City College said that it has now met the challenge of those key problem areas. “We were deferring maintenance, and deferring (upgrading) technology,” said board president John Rizzo. “We’re required to spend money, and this gives us a plan going forward.”

But the shouting protesters outside the meeting and the angry students inside disagreed with some points of the plan. Proposition A was a parcel tax measure approved by voters in November that would raise somewhere between $14-16 million City College annually, which the board wanted to use to beef up the college’s reserve fund, one of the key areas where they were knocked by the accrediting commission.

California Federation of Teachers president Joshua Pechthalt implored the board to use Prop A funds for current teachers. “The men and women who work in this college spent many hours taking money out of their pockets to pass Prop A,” Pechthalt said in public comment to the board. The audience of about a hundred or so faculty and students cheered. “I would ask you to work closely with faculty and staff, that you work collaboratively with them.”

Pechthalt was there at the behest of Alisa Messer, the president of City College’s American Federation of Teachers Local 2121. Teachers at City College have had wage freezes for years, and most recently had an 8.8 percent wage reduction just this past month.

Part-time teachers were hit too, as nearly 40 of them were “not rehired” for the current semester, as well as 18 counselors and 30 members of the college’s staff..

Student Martin Madrigal, a 29-year-old mathematics major at CCSF, said he also supported using the Prop A funding to prevent layoffs and wage reductions.

“I missed class to come to this fight,” Madrigal said to the board. “But if I didn’t come here there wouldn’t be a class to miss.”

One by one, faculty and students implored the board to use Prop A funds to buffer the college’s wage reductions and layoffs. At one point, student Eric Blanc, a member of the protest group Save CCSF, came to the podium to speak in public comment and was cut off by the board. Ten or so other students and faculty had yet to speak, and were told there was no longer time.

Blanc then demanded of the board his time to speak. The campus police chief, Andre Barnes, and an officer approached Blanc and tried to remove him from the room. The tension in the room mounted as the audience started chanting “let him speak, let him speak!”

Trustee Rafael Mandelman diffused the situation, asking for silence and calmly explaining that the board needed time to conduct its business. Tensions rose again though as the topic of the college’s reserve fund came up -- the reserve is now at $4 million, but the school is planning to boost it to $13 million by 2014, and $18 million by 2019.

It’s a needed safety net, the trustees argued, for a school with a budget hovering at more than $200 million a year and an economy that’s in the tank.

“Tomorrow the sequestration will begin, and it will impact California spending and our communities,” Trustee Steve Ngo said. “This [money] is going to faculty and staff, but in the future. Faculty and staff would not have to take cuts in wages, if we had funded the reserve.”

Ultimately, the board voted to approve its long term reserve fund plan, using Prop A funds to help buffer the reserve for the future. Blanc told the trustees that they had denied themselves other options, like suing the accreditation commission, or asking for emergency funding from City Hall.

“I think behind the rhetoric of this are thousands of people being shut out,” he said.

Vice Chancellor Peter Goldstein, who handles college finance, said that some of the claims of the protesters were inaccurate.

“I keep hearing people talking about cutting classes,but that’s not our plan for [fiscal year] 13-14,” he said. “In fact, this college is putting together a budget for next year that will have more classes than this year.”

The college may not be cutting classes, but it is asking everyone to do more with less. Teachers to teach with less salary, students to fit into larger classrooms, and for classes soon to fit into fewer campuses.

Whether those are improvements or dire straits depends on who you ask.

Video by Joe Fitzgerald:


Save CCSF plans to march to City Hall to demand aid to CCSF and to protest austerity cuts at the college on March 14. For more information visit

Click here to read City College’s 220 page “Show Cause” report:


But the moderator is. And they should, just like at any other website.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 09, 2013 @ 9:16 am

but posting an opinion that you happen personally not to agree with is not grounds for removing a post.

SFBG, to it's credit, rarely removes posts, and rightly so, at least if you value free speech.

Posted by anon on Mar. 09, 2013 @ 10:16 am

Nothing obscene or hateful in the rants above. Nope, not at all.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 09, 2013 @ 10:33 am

or other public place.

Then again, I am not motivated to censor speech, suppress diversity or control every little thing I see that i might not agree with. Nor is SFBG, evidently. Problem for you?

Posted by anon on Mar. 09, 2013 @ 10:52 am

but I'm glad I don't patronize those places. In the places I go to, I generally don't see raving lunatics screaming things like,
"Go drip some cum out of your cunt whore,slut, cunt pig, whore!!!"

And if they do, a bouncer will generally grab them by the shirt collar and throw them out on their ass.

In any case, shouldn't the discourse here be a little above the level of standard bar discourse?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 09, 2013 @ 7:38 pm

And yes, you'd be amazed what people say. The difference is that I do not get my panties in a twist over it.

Posted by anon on Mar. 09, 2013 @ 7:47 pm

If they're filled with lunatics ranting homophobic, racist, and mysoginistic rants like that above, and nobody steps in, that sounds like a real shithole.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 09, 2013 @ 8:20 pm

I was impressed with some of the suggestions and comments. I hope people feel comfortable expressing them and look past the profanity.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 08, 2013 @ 6:32 pm

No, see Gregg is somewhat right, I’m a defective human, I was beaten and abused, and I was left for dead at 8 years old, my head was so beaten in that it left me with migraines for the rest of my life.

Since then I have had this pesky characteristic of trying to protect myself in advance, whether warranted or not, and since then I have had a somewhat zealous subjective interpretation of words. Which is why I see that CCSF is corrupt, as are the teachers, are they evil? No ,of course not they are human and they seek security like all of us. But, the problem is ignorance and too many people today fit that definition. Most people today are still decent and good, but they are unaware of the battle we face between the informed and the ignorant. The fact is I love Mitra Sapienza I love her with all my heart’s desire, and I’m jealous of anyone that has her simplest of affection. But, that does not mean I can ignore my logic and realization of what is happening and as much as I love her the fact remains there is more at stake. As much as I have written amazing poems to tell her my hearts true desire the fact remains I have children and I care about the future of this nation not only for my kids but everyone’s. WE must cast aside our individual wants and see the bigger picture and inform those that know our weakness and desires instead see the stars and reach for them and never regret trying to be better. I’m weak and I’m much to be desired, but I love and I feel, and I know that life is more than me. It is about what we leave, what we tell our kids. And that iwhich is important, whether some so called worthless homeless man with hopes and wants or some poor fool that puts in a 50 hour workweek at minimum wage, we should care. We should really care and show it. And so with my weakness and my sorrow my hopes and my wants I say ask for better, demand more of us, so that those stars we reach for, that ebony sky dotted with bright lights that reflect our hopes and our wants are the stars that are there to remind us to keep on dreaming for the love and hope of us all.

I have had to eat out of dumpsters, while I was beaten into unconsciousness, I know what it is to be homeless to be alone and left for dead. No one to care about me, no place to go on Thanksgiving or Christmas, I watched my little brother die of a drug overdose and there I was with nothing I could do. I know what it is to go without food and be hungry, to be alone and cry without anyone to care or face with people trying to profit on my sadness. But, I still love and I still dream of a better life. So I see the real shit going on at CCSF, people that say they care all the while they profit off the weak and poor.

Live and learn.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 10, 2013 @ 1:25 am

There is some news release from CCSF Yesterday. He said he will keep CCSF open.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 08, 2013 @ 9:14 am

Dont use our tax dollars to fund this communist training center any longer. Stop exploiting the working class.

Posted by Guest nukem on Mar. 17, 2013 @ 12:42 pm

"Exploit the working class" ?

How ? Doesn't more schooling help the working class find better jobs to better themselves ?

Please explain.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 17, 2013 @ 10:01 pm

Most American girls are fat, slutty feminists who dress like slobs. Men should boycott them to start putting them in their place and to
encourage them to improve.

Here are some ways to insult American girls:

1. If she is fat, say:

“Are you pregnant?”

“Are you sure you should be eating that?”


"Have you looked in the mirror recently?"

2. When you are near a fat chick, use your mobile phone by pretending that you are talking to a friend and complain loudly about how disgusting fatties are.

3. If she has a tattoo, make a disgusted face, and say:

“Is that a bug or dirt on your skin?”


“I thought tattoos were only for bikers, criminals, or whores.”


“Girls who get tattoos because everyone else has one are like lemmings. Would you jump off a bridge because everybody else did?”


“I hear that there are laser tattoo removal clinics. You should go to one.”


“I thought you looked pretty hot until I saw that tattoo.”

"That tattoo will look really good when you are 70."
4. If she smokes, say:

“Gross! Smoking is such a turn-off. Lung cancer is not sexy.”

5. If she wears flip-flops, say:

“Wow, girls in other countries like Russia and Brazil care about their appearance and dress like women.”

6. If she has short hair, say:

“Excuse me, are you a man?”

Posted by Guest on Apr. 08, 2013 @ 12:11 pm
Posted by xanderpp on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 7:27 pm