More than 100 faculty, staff and students at City College of San Francisco had a message for the school Monday.
About 3,000 pieces of red paper representing bricks to build a school were handed over to administrators in an effort to urge the college not to cancel classes, a faculty union spokesman said. However, even though the cancellations might not be popular, the school is not doing anything out of the ordinary for a California community college.
Tim Killikelly, president of American Federation of Teachers Local 2121, which organized Monday's demonstration, said canceling classes creates anxiety for students and destabilizes the college, which is already grappling with uncertainty as it continues to fight for its accreditation.
As of Monday, the open and fully accredited school had canceled 88 classes affecting 370 students amid a 13 percent enrollment drop this fall semester, which began Aug. 18, CCSF spokesman Jeff Hamilton said.
Hamilton pointed out that the majority of the 88 classes called off so far had less than 10 students enrolled, and California's other 111 community colleges typically cancel classes with fewer than 20 students.
Additionally, of the 88 canceled classes, there are 428 of the same sections still available and all but 10 of the canceled classes have identical replacements. CCSF has been emailing and calling impacted students to help reassign them to other available sections.
"The bottom line is that we are very committed to building a schedule that serves the needs of our students, but when we have classes [with] five students in them, we're not doing that," Hamilton said. "We need to use our resources more effectively."
Paul Feist, a spokesman for the state Chancellor's Office, said other community college districts are experiencing dips in enrollment as well, particularly as the economy continues to improve.
"When the economy improves, people go back to work and they don't take as many classes at community colleges," Feist said.
CCSF will likely begin planning its spring marketing campaign earlier than ever before after such promotion proved effective last spring, bringing a 30 percent drop in enrollment to 14 percent between November and January, Hamilton said. Additionally, the school graduated 2,456 students last school year, an all-time high.
Meanwhile, the school has applied for restoration status -- a policy recently created by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, which last summer voted to revoke CCSF's accreditation.
The commission will decide whether to grant restoration status to CCSF no later than January. CCSF would remain accredited under the status.
Additionally, a lawsuit between The City and commission is expected to go to trial in October. A judge had previously issued an injunction blocking ACCJC from revoking CCSF's accreditation until the trial's conclusion.
Losing accreditation would effectively force CCSF to close.