Following the announcement of 160 potential faculty and staff layoffs at City College of San Francisco, some students are speaking out in the hopes of saving their programs.
City College Board of Trustees approved layoff notices Thursday across 39 departments and services that could be reduced or eliminated completely.
Although the 160 layoffs are not final, the college is legally required to give notice to staff by March 15 that their positions may be cut.
One of the programs facing potential cuts is the Aircraft Maintenance Technology program, which had 75 students enrolled when its lease at San Francisco International Airport was terminated during the pandemic, City College student trustee Vick Chung said Friday.
AMT students were “displaced for nearly one year, with no guarantee or tangible process for allowing them to complete their certificate program or transfer,” Chung said at a “Save the CCSF Airport Campus” public forum Friday. The lease was terminated two weeks before 20 students were set to graduate from the program.
The program now may be cut completely, given the lack of physical space to host it.
Friday’s forum was called by San Francisco Board of Supervisors President Shamann Walton, and co-hosted by the San Francisco Labor Council and CCSF Associated Students. Over 100 people attended, including Supervisor Gordon Mar and many City College students.
Sebastian Escobar, a student currently in the program, said he was inspired to join by his father, who graduated with his airframe and powerplant licenses while attending the program back in the 1980s.
“This program has been a legacy providing economic opportunities across generations,” Escobar said. “So maintaining this program in San Francisco for people like myself and many others that are here with us, and other people that weren’t able to attend because work or general life … a lot of it is involved with equity and accessibility.”
Escobar said that he has limited access to transportation, so the only campus accessible to him is CCSF. He said it would be “financially burdensome” for him and for many of his peers to attend the next nearest school.
Mar said he and the Board of Supervisors can follow up with SFO to try to find space for this “important program,” and they can be allies of the students when it comes to issues with City College administration.
“I know this is just part of the broader struggle to save City College and all the critical programs that City College provides for the communities,” Mar said.
Many attendees expressed frustration at the lack of City College administrators in attendance. A representative for the CCSF chancellor’s office made a brief statement, but was unable to answer questions.
Rosie Zepeda, the representative for the chancellor’s office, said that City College has initiated a formal process called the “program revitalization, suspension and discontinuation” process.
“This is a process and it’s rooted in more policy,” Zepeda said. “It has been initiated for the AMT program. So what this means is that a committee of faculty, administrators and students has been formed to make a set of recommendations about the future of the program.”
Zepeda said these recommendations will go to the Academic Senate who will then make recommendations to the chancellor. Depending on the recommendations, a final action may be taken by the Board of Trustees.
Zepeda added that the college is exploring the possibility of relocating the program to the Evans Center, which is owned by the college and would provide a stable long term location.
“The reality is that if the AMT program was still housed at SFO, we would not find ourselves in this position, or engage in conversations of its future,” Zepeda said.