City College of San Francisco working to keep accreditation, avoid closure 

click to enlarge CCSF is striving to keep its academic accreditation. - S.F. EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • S.F. Examiner File Photo
  • CCSF is striving to keep its academic accreditation.

The City College of San Francisco board of trustees is vowing to keep the institution open despite a recent scathing report from the Accreditation Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.

At a special meeting Tuesday, the seven-member board said it will do whatever it can to prevent CCSF from losing accreditation or closing.

“We will not let that happen” said board President John Rizzo. “Everyone in this room, everyone in this community, will not let that happen.”

Rumors that CCSF could lose accreditation came earlier this month after a report to reaffirm accreditation was delayed in order to require the college to “show cause.” That happens when the accrediting commission finds that an institution is in “substantial non-compliance” with the commission’s eligibility requirements, accreditation standards or policies, or when the institution has not responded to imposed conditions.

City College was the only campus out of 45 evaluated to receive a “show cause.”

The accreditation commission found numerous deficiencies with CCSF governance, student services and outcomes, facilities and technology. It made 14 recommendations to address the problems. Accreditation is reviewed every six years.

CCSF has until Oct. 15 to present a progress report describing its plan. Then by March 15, a closure plan and “show cause” report – explaining how deficiencies have been corrected - must be submitted to the accreditation commission. Finally, come June the college needs to prove why its accreditation should not be withdrawn.

Interim CCSF Chancellor Pamila Fisher assured trustees and the college community that although the road ahead will be tough, they will succeed.

“We are already at work and we will do whatever it takes,” Fisher said.

In addition to meetings with faculty, students and the community, college officials have begun to identify policies or procedures that could hinder the board of trustees and prevent CCSF from moving forward with the process, Fisher said. An accreditation task force also has been created to specifically track the college’s progress.

If CCSF lost accreditation, it could not transfer students’ course credits or degrees and certificates earned by students. It also could mean CCSF would lose federal funding and even potentially close.

While administrators and trustees remain optimistic, students are worried about the future.
Art student Carmen Melendez said she is concerned that students’ voices will be lost in the mix and quick deadlines.

“We are here because our resources are not enough, not because our mission is too big,” Melendez said.

Students are planning a town-hall type discussion tonightWednesday at the student union.

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