Ocean Campus—-MUB 160
February 3, 2016—–5:30-7:30pm
Updates on Victories / Continuing Issues
- NACIQI (DOE) recommendation that gave ACCJC only 6 months to come into compliance
- Draconian payment policy suspended – thanks to our amazing student organizers
- A special update on the Alex Nieto case
- Speaker from the Justice for Mario Woods Coalition
- Update on reservoir development / PAEC
- Faculty contract fight
… and MORE
Plug in to the organizing
Our struggle is far from over. We need to rebuild our City College to the open, affordable, accessible and diverse college our students deserve.
Mark your calendars for future GAs
- General Assembly: March 16, 5:30 – 7:30 pm, MUB 160
- General Assembly: April 27, 5:30 – 7:30 pm, MUB 270
The Colossal Deception
- The colossal deception that has been unfolding since 2012 is unraveling. This deception has its origins in the 2012 decision by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges in California, the ACCJC, to place City College of San Francisco on “Show Cause,” the most severe sanction that can be imposed on an institution short of revoking its accreditation. This decision, and the one that followed a year later, to revoke CCSF’s accreditation a year out in 2014, led to a state takeover of the school, and the imposition of a Special Trustee With Extra Ordinary Powers, or STWEP. In plain English, the STWEP is a lone trustee with dictatorial powers, imposed on CCSF by the State Chancellor and the unelected Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges. The elected City College Board of Trustees was suspended and the STWEP was imposed, ostensibly, to save CCSF from loss of accreditation.To watch this grand deception unravel should bring satisfaction to no one, given the destruction left in its wake. No part of CCSF has been left unscathed in this spectacle; no part of it has emerged untarnished. The various corrupt components of the state takeover, and its ineptitude, are now clear and beyond dispute. Over 23,000 students, more than 25 percent of the2011-12 enrollment, have fallen away, including even higher percentages of the most at-risk students. Several departments, especially the Diversity and Social Justice departments, face a continuing and increasing threat to their existence.Some hailed this takeover as a positive step in “fixing” CCSF. This included Mayor Lee, who accepted, without question, the ACCJC’s claim that CCSF was a “failed institution.” The SF Chronicle was also a cheerleader for the now discredited ACCJC and its decision. We were told that, among other positive things, this was an opportunity to bring about changes that would improve the school, and the success of its students, in particular the most marginalized students, notably students of color, working class students, single parents, etc. The adherents of this viewpoint argued that those who were placed in control of the school would replace endemic poor management with good management, and would eliminate haphazard and politically motivated decision making with a process based on integrity and sound judgment. Under the watch of the new regime, we were supposed to see a rational, prudent use of the financial resources of the school in place of alleged financial mismanagement and reckless spending. We were promised an end to wasteful and irresponsible use of finances on such unacceptable things as the alleged unjustifiably high salaries of faculty and classified employees. Thus, the first act in this “responsible” financial policy was to unilaterally cut faculty and classified wages by nearly 12%, while going on to clandestinely increase the salaries of selected administrators to as high as 19%. The second act was to institute an unnecessarily aggressive and draconian payment policy that dropped 9124 students from all their classes over only four semesters, primarily those who are the most vulnerable. (After sustained protest by students and others, this payment policy has been suspended.)
All of this took place under the autocratic rule of the Special Trustee, shortly promoted to STWEP, and two interim chancellors, the first, incredibly destructive, the second, incredibly inept. The first interim Chancellor, Pamila Fisher, who frequently consulted by phone with Barbara Beno, proposed and pushed through a shell-shocked Board of Trustees, a college “reorganization plan” that included the firing of all of the deans, requiring those that wanted to retain their positions to formally reapply for them. It also involved a “departmental restructuring” that would have effectively destroyed the departmental structure as a whole. Fisher proposed eliminating all but seven of the 62 department chairs. This tremendously disruptive and destructive “reorganization plan” was announced at a time when CCSF had less than eight months to correct 14 “deficiencies” outlined by the ACCJC in their “Show Cause” report. This plan was certain to insure CCSF’s failure in its attempts to retain its accreditation, at least under the conditions set up by the ACCJC. But that didn’t stop the second interim chancellor, Thelma Scott-Skillman, from embracing this “reorganization plan,” and attempting to push it forward. As could be expected, the ACCJC claimed that we had not met the conditions to retain accreditation and that our accreditation would be revoked at the end of July 2014. The State Chancellor then decided that the suspension of the Board of Trustees was necessary to retain CCSF’s accreditation. This suspension was justified on the grounds that the Board was “dysfunctional.”
The results of this disastrous takeover now scream loudly and tragically for all to see, except, perhaps, those who remain steadfastly determined not to. Viewing all of this through the lens of political history, the whole thing is best understood as a grand coup, typical in its justifications and its promises, and complete with its dramatic, but predictable, failure. Neither the reign of an ordinary Special Trustee, nor that of a Special Trustee with Extraordinary Powers, was able to secure CCSF’s continued accreditation. Both utterly failed. More than this, they wrought havoc on our school. The misuse of district funds that took place under their watch has now come to light .
Even more damning is the fact that the STWEP was responsible for hiring the now departed chancellor whose use of district funds is in question; that chancellor in turn hired the now departed college president who is implicated along with him in this financial mischief. Nor was this the only administrator hired by the STWEP whose performance turned out to be far less than stellar.
We now have our Board of Trustees (presumably) back in power, and a Special Trustee who lingers, but whose only role is that of advisor (for which he receives an exorbitant salary). We have much work to do, however, to rebuild a CCSF that continues to remain open, affordable, accessible, and diverse. Our struggle for such a school is far from over. Please join in accomplishing this task.