New CCSF board member ready to tackle challenges 

click to enlarge Rafael Mandelman. - SF EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • SF Examiner file photo
  • Rafael Mandelman.

Rafael Mandelman knows how important City College of San Francisco is to the community and hopes to do his part to keep it operating and providing essential services to The City.

Mandelman joins the seven-member board amid a financial crisis and while the school works to change much of the way it operates in order to keep its accreditation. Mandelman — along with re-elected incumbents Chris Jackson, Steve Ngo and Natalie Berg — were sworn in to the board of trustees Monday.

Last spring, City College received a scathing report from the Accrediting Commission for Junior and Community Colleges on its operations, structure and finances. The commission provided 14 recommendations needed to meet the accrediting standards or risk losing the commission’s approval to operate. Without accreditation, the school would lose federal funding and student aid, likely causing the institution to close.

City College also received a negative report on its finances from the Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team in September.

Though both reports several hurdles for City College to clear to continue operating, Mandelman said that has sharpened his focus.

“There’s so much to do,” Mandelman said. “But I believe the people managing the accreditation process are quite competent.”

Mandelman, an attorney, was raised in San Francisco’s Sunset district and even took a few courses at City College while he was in high school. As a result, Mandelman said, he knows how important the school is to the community.

“We can absolutely pull out of this,” he said. “I just think it’s a lot of work. To that extent, people have to be patient with each other and assume the best rather than the worst. But I also think the school needs to show flexibility and respect for its employees.”

Mandelman said he hopes to be a bridge to the community during the entire process.

“Everyone is very committed to the success of the institution,” he said. “But there’s not a lot of trust among the constituency. I’m hoping I can be someone who does build bridges.”

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