Rep. Jackie Speier has vowed to further shed light on what she called “irrational” behavior by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.

Rep. Jackie Speier has vowed to further shed light on what she called “irrational” behavior by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.

CCSF accreditor takes beating in panel hosted by Rep. Jackie Speier

Panelists at City College of San Francisco unloaded on the state's accrediting commission Monday, accusing it of unfair actions against the embattled institution.

Rep. Jackie Speier, the San Mateo Democrat whose district includes CCSF, hosted Monday's panel, and she vowed to further shed light on “irrational” behavior by the accrediting body that in 2013 sought to have the school's accreditation revoked.

In fact, “the necessity to get the Department of Education to understand more specifically the arbitrariness with which the [Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges] has been operating” was Speier's biggest takeaway from a panel Monday on the status of CCSF, she told The San Francisco Examiner.

“I want [the DOE] to become much more well-briefed on what's going on with the ACCJC,” Speier said after the panel. “I think the record shows there is favoritism, and arbitrariness and retaliation that has got to be changed.”

CCSF remains open and accredited as it awaits the outcome of a lawsuit filed by the City Attorney's Office last year alleging that the school was unfairly evaluated prior to its accreditation being threatened two years ago. A judge who heard closing arguments in San Francisco Superior Court last week is expected to issue a tentative ruling in January.

Sara Eisenberg, the deputy city attorney who delivered closing arguments, said Monday at the panel that the City Attorney's Office is “pleased” with its work during the trial.

“We feel good about it,” she said. “We learned a lot during this process.”

The collective sentiment from panelists — which included CCSF Trustee John Rizzo, San Mateo County Community College District Chancellor Ron Galatolo, CCSF faculty union President Tim Killikelly and Academic Senate President Lillian Marrujo-Duck — accused the ACCJC of repeat unfair engagement with the institution.

Rizzo said “the defining moment” for him in believing there was an ulterior motive came when the ACCJC recommended earlier this year that CCSF seek candidacy status, which would have required the school to withdraw its accreditation and effectively shut down, Rizzo said.

“Because of that, to me it is clear that what we need is a reform of the way accreditation is done,” he said.

The ACCJC has since offered another option to CCSF: a new policy called restoration status that would give the school two more years to meet all requirements while remaining accredited.

The Board of Governors is already taking steps to allow for another accreditor in the state. At its meeting in January, the board is expected to vote on a regulation change that would remove from its regulations naming ACCJC as the sole accreditor of California community colleges.

Speier and other panelists also urged the reinstatement of CCSF trustees, whose power was transferred to a special trustee first in 2013 and again this past summer. Speier called the revoking of power “unconstitutional.”

But a plan to phase in control to the seven elected trustees that will take no longer than 18 months is already underway and is ultimately a requirement for accreditation, said Paul Feist, a spokesman for the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office. He added that oversight from the office and a special trustee is a condition of stabilization funding secured in June to ensure CCSF does not lose out on state money despite seeing a drop in enrollment.

“It's in everyone's interest that the trustees transition back into power, and that's what we're doing right now,” Feist said.

Separately, the California Federation of Teachers that represents faculty in 30 community college districts filed a new complaint with the Department of Education on Monday alleging that the ACCJC continues to act inconsistently and unfairly.

Bay Area NewsBoard of GovernorsCity College of San FranciscoeducationJackie Speier

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Outdoor dining, as seen here at Mama’s on Washington Square in North Beach in September, is expected to resume in San Franisco this week. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SF to reopen outdoor dining, personal services

San Francisco will allow outdoor dining and other limited business activity to… Continue reading

City College of San Francisco Board member Alan Wong (Courtesy photo)
CCSF board member tests positive for COVID-19 after National Guard deployment

Alan Wong spent eight days in Sacramento protecting State Capitol before Inauguration Day

Giants slugger Barry Bonds smiles as he makes a joke about McCovey Cove as the San Francisco Giants paid tribute to legend Willie McCovey at AT&T Park on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Ex-Giants star Barry Bonds again falls short of Hall of Fame

After striking out yet again in his bid to join Major League… Continue reading

Patients line up in their cars to receive a shot at The City’s first mass COVID-19 vaccination site at City College of San Francisco on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Legislation would require SF to create a public COVID-19 vaccine plan — fast

San Francisco’s Department of Public Health would have to come up with… Continue reading

Ian Jameson (center) organized a group of tenant rights activists and assembled at the El Monte City Hall to demand that the City Council there pass an eviction moratorium barring all evictions during the coronavirus pandemic on Sunday, March 29, 2020. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)
California would extend eviction protections to June 30 under proposal

Legislation released Monday would also subsidize rent for low-income tenants

Most Read