Barbara Beno, president of City College of San Francisco’s controversial accreditor, has been placed on administrative leave ahead of her expected retirement in June 2017, according to CCSF Interim Chancellor Susan Lamb.
The news comes as the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges is reviewing CCSF’s accreditation status. The ACCJC, which has drawn scrutiny from critics ranging from college leaders to federal officials for allegedly holding CCSF to unfair standards, is expected to come out with a decision early next year.
The San Francisco Examiner obtained an email from Lamb to the CCSF community that said Beno was placed on administrative leave Tuesday and replaced by Richard Winn, the vice president of operations at the ACCJC.
It’s unclear why Beno is no longer president. Beno declined to comment when reached by phone Thursday afternoon.
An ACCJC spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
When the City Attorney’s Office went to trial with the ACCJC over CCSF in 2014, Beno was accused of ignoring the lesser warnings that an accrediting team recommended for CCSF and instead imposing the harshest sanction against the college for failing to meet standards.
CCSF faculty union head Tim Killikelly, president of the American Federation of Teachers 2121, said in a text message that Beno “should have been gone long ago.”
“Her illegal actions against CCSF should have made the ACCJC realize that,” Killikelly said. “But better late than never.”
When her retirement came to light in September, Beno said in an email through a spokesperson that she decided to retire “in order to pursue other interests in my life.”
“It has been an enjoyable and sometimes wild time, but it seems to me when people get to the 30-year mark, it’s time to have fun in some new ways,” Beno said.
CCSF Board of Trustees President Rafael Mandelman said he was looking forward to new leadership at the ACCJC.
“The college’s experiences with the ACCJC under her leadership have not been great,” Mandelman said.
Beno said she has worked with community colleges since 1986 and was a university faculty member before that.
As for her June retirement date, Beno had said the timing gave the ACCJC “ample time to find a new CEO.”
“In the meantime, I hope to accomplish several projects with the staff and the commission this year,” Beno previously said. “It should be an exciting time.”