CCSF Chancellor March Rocha took office in 2017. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

CCSF Chancellor March Rocha took office in 2017. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

CCSF Chancellor Mark Rocha placed on administrative leave, effective immediately

Controversial figure oversaw the rollout of Free City College and subsequent budget cuts

City College of San Francisco Chancellor Mark Rocha was placed on leave Monday, effective immediately.

In an email obtained by the San Francisco Examiner, City College Board of Trustees President Shanell Williams announced that Rocha would be placed on paid administrative leave effective immediately. Williams did not state the reason, or whether the leave was permanent, and called it a “confidential personnel matter” when asked for comment.

“I know this news may come as a surprise,” Williams wrote. “I want to assure you that on behalf of our board, that the college is in good hands. There is a plan in place to move the college forward.”

Senior vice-chancellors will manage day-to-day operations until an acting chancellor is put in place, Williams added.

Trustee John Rizzo and AFT 2121 President Jenny Worley confirmed the change but declined to comment. The decision was made during a closed board session conducted via Zoom on Friday night, which was described on the agenda as a performance review for the chancellor.

Rocha took office in 2017 and oversaw the rollout of Free City College after serving as Pasadena City College president. AFT 2121, the college’s faculty union, raised concerns over his multiple votes of no confidence for reportedly ignoring policy to consult faculty before making major changes.

City College has since undergone budget and class cuts since the fall protested by staff and students. It cut 443 credit and 309 non-credit classes for the 2019-2020 school year to balance a $32 million deficit and suddenly cut another 288 spring classes in November.

The Board of Supervisors approved $2.4 million in bridge funding but Rocha declined the offer in December and defended the cuts in a letter, calling it a “long-planned restructuring” to transfer students to universities. Supervisor Shamann Walton, who led the effort to bring in funding to restore classes, said he hoped the next chancellor will work well with other city leaders.

“Obviously, we didn’t see eye to eye on that but running City College isn’t an easy job,” Walton said. “The last year or so has definitely been a tough time for the college as a whole. The timing is just not optimal.”

San Francisco voters approved Proposition A in March, allowing $845 million in bonds to update its depreciated buildings, make earthquake safety upgrades, and build new facilities.

This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.

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