CCSF’s new chancellor has a history running other troubled colleges

|
(28)
City College of San Francisco's new chancellor, Dr. Art Tyler
Photo courtesy of Houston Community College video archive

Former Compton College Special Trustee Dr. Arthur Q. Tyler will be City College of San Francisco’s new chancellor, sources tell the Guardian. The decision ends a months-long search and comes at a time when CCSF is under state control and facing the loss of its accreditation. 

City College is in the fight for its life as the deadline of July 2014 looms ahead, at which point the Accrediting Commission of Community and Junior Colleges, may revoke its accreditation. But Tyler has been in a similar position before -- as the special trustee of Compton Community College.

Tyler held the same position overseeing the troubled Compton Community College that Special Trustee Bob Agrella held before CCSF lost its accreditation. But more importantly, Tyler was at Compton Community College when it was told its accreditation was revoked in 2005.

In a letter to the community, Compton’s Board of Trustees outlined what they’d need to do: regain their footing and win an appeal to the accreditation commission. They filed for review, much like City College of San Francisco recently did. And they lost.  

Compton Community College never regained its accreditation. The college was absorbed into a neighboring district, El Camino College, and is now known as The El Camino Compton College Center. It’s essentially another campus in the El Camino system.   

The letter Compton Community College sent students when it first learned it would soon lose accreditation.

Tyler’s is now tasked with saving San Francisco’s only community college. And you have to admit, attracting candidates to a school that’s on the edge of closure couldn’t have been easy. After City College was notified it would lose accreditation in a year, the state gave Agrella the full powers of City College’s Board of Trustees, leaving San Franciscos elected college board powerless. Just exactly how much power and influence Tyler will have while the state-appointed trustee remains at City College is still unclear. 

But its Tyler’s experience working with the community college accreditation agency and the California state chancellor’s office is that made him a strong candidate, said Alisa Messer, president of City College’s faculty union AFT 2121. When asked if it worried her that Tyler led Compton college while it lost its accreditation, she said “I’m not going in with preconceived notions.” 

Tyler’s resume is seemingly glowing. He’s an anti-terrorism expert who served in the US Air Force, was vice president at Los Angeles City College and was in charge at Sacramento City College. He also speaks Farsi.

But it was his time as Deputy Chancellor of Houston Community College where he walked through fire -- from allegedly resisting bribes to sexual advances from contractors. Dave Wilson, 66, runs the investigative website “Inside HCCS” in Texas that’s a tell-all about alleged dirty dealings at Houston Community College, based on the many public records requests he’s made over the years. 

One gold mine of documents Wilson obtained came when the Harris County District Attorney’s office was investigating alleged corruption at HCC. Family members and close ties allegedly helped questionable construction contracts get approved by the HCC board of trustees, according to the Houston Chronicle’s stories at the time. 

Ultimately, those accused had to take ethics training courses, but it’s the investigation itself that’s really revealing.

Law Firm Smyser Kaplan & Veselka interviewed college officials at the behest of HCC’s board in 2010. Their goal -- get to the bottom of who had anything to do with getting the dirty contracts passed. Tyler, who was deputy chancellor at the time, and Houston Community College’s attorney, Larry Veselka, took extensive notes on the interview.

When looking into a construction project, Tyler told Veselka he found about $14 million in questionable spending. The interview details allegations that Tyler was receiving vague promises of sexual favors and bribes from a pair of would-be contractors, both of which he refused. But one trustee was concerned enough about Tyler’s close relationship with another trustee’s friends that Tyler’s procurement authority was limited.      

The Guardian tried contacting Tyler as well as the law firm, but has so far received no response. His appointment is expected to be announced in the morning (Wed/16), so check back later for any updates.

When asked if he was worried about any of the allegations about Tyler, John Rizzo, City College’s board of trustees president, said that none of it came up in the chancellorship interviews -- but even if there was truth to it, he wasn’t worried.

“He’s going to have a lot of eyes on him,” Rizzo said. “He’ll have the state chancellor and special trustee looking over his shoulder, more than a normal chancellor would.”

And though we couldn’t get Tyler to respond to our calls, he did speak about why he’s interested in working at City College of San Francisco in his public interview there on Wednesday, Oct. 9.

“I love helping. This is not a job,” he said. When he “saw the need here” and learned that San Francisco was ailing, he thought “I hate this. I can absolutely help. I shouldn’t sit on the sidelines. I have the right skillsets and the right experiences. I know how to organize people and at least talk and listen to each other so they’re communicating.”

Comments

least successfully oversee a transition to the private sector.

CCSF is an apple rotten to the core, so the only question here is whether some pieces can be surgically removed and saved.

But if the better decision is to close it down completely, I hope he has the courage to do that.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 16, 2013 @ 5:06 am

It appears so.

Posted by AnotherGuest on Oct. 16, 2013 @ 8:56 am

whether some fragment of it can remain viable.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 16, 2013 @ 9:22 am

The difficult questions is whether the faculty union will agree to it. Even if the faculty union will agree to a scaled down CCSF, the next question is who is to keep and who is to let go ?

Posted by AnotherGuest on Oct. 16, 2013 @ 9:29 am

If the alternative is complete closure, the unions will be begging for any deal. Good opportunity to rip up the contracts and renegotiate them at the same time.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 16, 2013 @ 9:40 am

this is simply a wall against trolls

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into repetitive reactionary hyperbole, and/or petty, mean spirited personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by sonee on Oct. 16, 2013 @ 11:04 am

If corruption is the issue there, Tyler is not qualified to rectify any of those issues. He and his gang from California created the same environment in Houston before he was bought out of his contract.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 16, 2013 @ 1:29 pm
Posted by Guest on Oct. 16, 2013 @ 1:53 pm

The above comment is patently untrue and was probably planted by hired "spin doctors".

No one who has either attended, or worked for City College can do other than respect the enormous task and role it fills in our society. CCSF trains Police, Firefighters, Culinary workers, EMTs, Nurses, other Health Care Workers and Early Childhood Development workers.

It is also the most affordable way for anyone to do their first two years of acedemic work.

The ACCJC is a PRIVATE institution. They have been corrupted by the influence of wealthy specila interests. They have already been censured for this and there are no fewer than three lawsuits against them so far. They should be closed and fined for their wicked, corrupt moves against City College of S.F. If city college closes, there will be an immediate crisis of training in all of the above mentioned areas as well as countless others.

It is not right, or fair, or in the spirit of public education to shut dowm an institution which serves ( usually) abouat 100,00 students in all areas of education. The rush to judgement and the lack of response to any common sense shows the corruption behind the ACCJC's decision making process.

Posted by Katheine Garber Dilao on Oct. 17, 2013 @ 10:06 am

name, Katheine?

No chance of you being, say, a unionized employee at CCSF then?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 17, 2013 @ 10:27 am

Tyler is impeccable , his reputation is of a tough administrator and he is exactly that. I am very aware of what he had to go thru and I can tell you that several members of the HCCS board were very problematic for him because he refused to hand out contracts to their friends. He insisted that a contractor simply must demonstrate that they are competent, qualified and capable of doing the work. He insisted on integrity at every level. The system at HCCS is challenging to say the least. I would hire him to do anything that required getting it right. It was me who met with him on his very day to Houston and I can tell you he is an honest man with the right intentions, don't ask him to cheat or steal, you will lose a friend.

Darryl King
Houston

Posted by Guest on Nov. 27, 2013 @ 6:59 am

Tyler was apparently brought in to oversee the scuttling of one of America's greatest community colleges, and the parceling out of its assets to for-profit, on-line diploma mills, like the sordid University of Phoenix from which Tyler has a digital degree.

The knives are sharpened, and the wolves are drooling, as evidenced by the paid, east-coast privatization trolls who've already sprayed these comments with their neo-liberal bladder fluid..

Posted by Guest on Oct. 16, 2013 @ 10:31 am

would not have so miserably failed the accreditation criteria.

No idea where you get the "east coast" remark from but I do firmly believe that privatization is the only way any part of CCSF can be saved.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 16, 2013 @ 10:41 am

reminding patrons "we're still here." Kind of poignant.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Oct. 16, 2013 @ 12:59 pm

with of course no mention of the fact that it expires in a few months.

You wouldn't want to sign on for a multi-year class with them right now.

But hey, "we're not closed yet" is a great tagline.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 16, 2013 @ 1:52 pm

City College is a fine community college, good instructors, good programs, the problem here is this bogus, power- mad, out-of-control accreditation committee. Apparently some very bad new people somehow got appointed to this committee, including the person who runs it, a disgruntled former community college paper pusher - who was discharged from her last two jobs. This accreditation committee is going up and down state threatening to close colleges - getting a lot a press in newspapers, and so forth, but they haven't really found much on any of the colleges they are threatening to close, including CCSF. The problem here is that state education experts were not paying enough attention to this accreditation outfit - as a result some very bad news people are currently serving on it. This accreditation group, I should mention, is refusing to let students or faculty members attend the meetings of the group, they are refusing to supply reporters with information, it's a real kangaroo court run by some very bad news people. They apparently work in "secret", have "secret" documents - nobody can see, and they also, apparently meet in "secret" too. I fault the media for mindlessly reporting the "work" they are doing without carefully scrutinizing the members of the committee or it's methods. You've got some really bad news troublemakers running this outfit, I think readers need to be told the truth. I'm hearing - all over the place, that efforts are being made - behind the scenes - by very powerful people to shut this group down - get rid of the screwballs running the committee - and re-staff the committee with ethical and decent people. If that's the case I am for it.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 16, 2013 @ 10:27 pm

this is simply a barricade against trolls

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into repetitive reactionary hyperbole, and/or petty, mean spirited personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by defender on Oct. 16, 2013 @ 11:06 pm

Let me summarize your rant for you. You are saying the ACCJC works in secrecy . You are saying ACCJC is a villain organization.

You said some powerful people is working behind the scene to shut ACCJC down. Can you share with us who are these people ? Do you mean the lawsuits by Herrera and by the AFT ?

Posted by AnotherGuest on Oct. 17, 2013 @ 10:03 am

It's the same line of reasoning that says that if the left loses an election, there was voter fraud, or the election was bought, or democracy is flawed. But when they win a vote, it's the will of the people for social justice.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 17, 2013 @ 10:08 am

Well said.

Posted by AnotherGuest on Oct. 17, 2013 @ 11:35 am

this is simply a barricade against trolls

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into repetitive reactionary hyperbole, and/or petty, mean spirited personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by defender on Oct. 16, 2013 @ 11:07 pm

CCSF hired the only person in the world that was in charge of a California community college that lost its accreditation for Chancellor?!!! This is reason enough to deny the appeal. Leadership weakness at all levels indeed.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 7:18 pm

flawed, doomed, institution?

In which case, he is a good pick. Many of us are done with CCSF - just close the damn thing down already and move on.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 7:27 pm

this is simply a barricade against trolls

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into repetitive reactionary hyperbole, and/or petty, mean spirited personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by fdh on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 7:47 pm

CCSF's last ditch effort is to drum up enough complain from other CC's to see if they can prevent ACCJC from passing the 5-year review by the US Department of Education . ACCJC may have room for improvement, but this de-certification is a long shot.

It is a mess.

Posted by AnotherGuest on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 10:09 pm
Posted by Guest on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 10:34 pm

this is simply a barricade against trolls

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into repetitive reactionary hyperbole, and/or petty, mean spirited personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by fdh on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 7:47 pm

suspected sleaze.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 20, 2013 @ 11:27 pm

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.