The deadline for City College of San Francisco to meet accrediting requirements will not budge.
That's according to the commission that last summer voted to strip California's largest community college of its accreditation by July 31 if the school does not come into full compliance with accreditation standards -- which, the commission said Tuesday, it has not.
In a letter responding to U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, and the U.S. Department of Education, which last week said the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges has the authority to extend the school's accreditation deadline, the commission reiterated that doing so would violate federal law.
"ACCJC has determined that it cannot legally maintain CCSF's accreditation while giving it another opportunity to comply with accreditation standards," the letter states. "New evaluation of the college while maintaining its accreditation ... is not permissible under federal law."
Last week, Lynn Mahaffie, the Department of Education's senior director for policy coordination, development and accreditation service, wrote to Pelosi that the commission has the power to reconsider or rescind its termination of accreditation from CCSF "so as to provide the institution with additional time to come into compliance within the two-year time frame, if such period has not run out, or to provide an extension for good cause."
But the commission said that time has, in fact, run out.
Pelosi, pointing out that CCSF has already completed nearly 85 percent of the 350 objectives, said refusing to extend the school's deadline "would be destructive, irresponsible and could be viewed as a political act."
Longtime CCSF professor Wendy Kaufmyn went a step further Tuesday, saying the commission's refusal to extend the deadline appears to be "a personal vendetta."
The commission noted in its letter that CCSF leaders and constituents have "initiated many tasks" to meet accrediting standards, but said the school still needs a "significant period of time" to demonstrate full compliance. It said that entering candidacy is the "only viable option."
Candidacy status would require CCSF to withdraw its current accreditation, a move Chancellor Art Tyler has said he is not willing to make. On Tuesday, Tyler called the commission's letter "disheartening" as the school has made "tremendous progress."
Also on Tuesday, Pelosi, along with U.S. Reps. Jackie Speier and Anna Eshoo, said new leadership is needed at the ACCJC "should this failure of leadership persist."
The July 31 compliance deadline is essentially moot, however, due to an impending October trial between the City Attorney's Office and the commission, which prompted a temporary injunction barring CCSF's accreditation loss until the trial is complete.