Barbara Beno, the former president of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, testifies during a trial between The City and the ACCJC in October 2014. (Gabrielle Lurie/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Former head of CCSF’s accreditor to serve as an advisor

City College of San Francisco’s controversial accreditor has clarified its decision to place its president on administrative leave, saying in a statement Wednesday morning that President Barbara Beno will continue to serve as an advisor to the accrediting commission.

Beno, who has been a central figure in CCSF’s struggle to remain open and fully accredited, was expected to remain president of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges until her retirement in June 2017.

But a week after CCSF Interim Chancellor Susan Lamb revealed that Beno was placed on administrative leave, the ACCJC confirmed that Beno “will no longer be acting as president but will continue to serve in an advisory capacity.”

Beno joined the ACCJC in 2001.

“In making this change now, I provide others in the organization a larger role in the decisions that will shape ACCJC in the years to come,” Beno said in a statement.

The ACCJC is currently reviewing CCSF’s accreditation status and is expected to announce its decision early next year. CCSF and public officials have criticized the ACCJC for allegedly holding the college to unfair standards.

The ACCJC itself is under review by the federal government.

In September, three members of Congress sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Education calling on the department to stop recognizing the ACCJC as a valid accreditor.

“ACCJC is on a solid path to address federal recognition requirements and the needs and concerns of member institutions, as well as the changing accreditation landscape,” Beno said. “I am honored to have worked with the ACCJC, the member institutions, and the Commissioners to ensure high quality education in the Western region’s community and junior colleges.”

California Community Colleges, the community college system that includes CCSF, is working to reform or replace the ACCJC in the coming years.

Richard Winn, vice president of operations for the ACCJC, is serving as interim president for the agency until a new president is chosen.

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