As CCSF appeals death sentence, City Hall protesters are arrested 

click to enlarge CCSF supporters rally at City Hall on Tuesday while demanding a meeting with Mayor Ed Lee. - ANDREA KOSKEY/THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • Andrea Koskey/The S.F. Examiner
  • CCSF supporters rally at City Hall on Tuesday while demanding a meeting with Mayor Ed Lee.

Emotions are heating up as activist supporters of City College of San Francisco seek new ways to keep the institution open and stave off the changes imposed upon it by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.

On Tuesday night, 26 protesters who sat inside City Hall demanding a meeting with Mayor Ed Lee were arrested for trespassing and unlawful assembly, according to the San Francisco Sheriff's Department.

The protesters, many of whom were part of the Save City College Coalition, want the sanctions against CCSF dropped and Special Trustee Robert Agrella fired. Following the ruling last month that CCSF would have its accreditation revoked next July, State Chancellor Brice Harris elevated Agrella to take over the Board of Trustees' duties.

Earlier this week, City College officials submitted an official report requesting a review of that decision. Those documents will remain confidential, despite previous statements by Agrella and Harris that the documents would be made public.

City College's administration was informed by the commission that, under its policies, the documents must remain confidential until a decision is made.

In a statement, Agrella said his comments to make the documents public were premature.

"As previously stated, we cannot share the review documents because we have been clearly informed by the commission that all parts of the appeal process, including the review, are to be treated as confidential," he said. "I sincerely apologize for our premature comments."

It is unknown how detailed the review request was, but under commission policy CCSF can only ask for a review under four criteria. Those include errors or omissions in the visiting team's evaluation, bias or prejudice by the visiting team, an error in evidence submitted and proof that the commission's decision was not supported by evidence.

Last week, the commission itself was sanctioned when the U.S. Department of Education called it out of compliance in four areas, warning that it could lose federal recognition if the errors are not corrected.

Also Tuesday, it was announced that negotiations between City College and American Federation of Teachers Local 2121 had broken down, according to Agrella and Interim Chancellor Thelma Scott-Skillman. In a joint letter to the college community, the administrators said they would ask the Public Employment Relations Board to declare an impasse and send in a mediator to assist with the negotiations.

But representatives from Local 2121 said the impasse was declared before talks even began.

"They didn't make the 'better offer' they had promised us — what they did put on the table actually regressed slightly from when they walked away from the table two weeks ago," a statement sent to Local 2121 members said.

Outstanding issues in those negotiations include faculty compensation, class sizes and the cost of teachers' prescription drug reimbursement.

CCSF's employee compensation rate, which accounts for more than 90 percent of the institution's budget, has been cited in commission reports and by the state's Fiscal Crisis Management and Assistance Team as a chief cause for concern.

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