City College of San Francisco has been given two more years to reach full compliance with accrediting requirements, an accrediting body announced Wednesday.
The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges voted at its three-day meeting last week to grant restoration status to CCSF, a policy the commission created last year in an effort to give the embattled school more time to reach accrediting compliance.
CCSF administrators welcomed the announcement and said the school is confident it will complete the remaining tasks needed to be in full compliance with accrediting standards within two years.
“This should remove all doubt about the future of City College,” CCSF spokesman Jeff Hamilton said. “We look forward to continuing the work that's already underway to complete the transformation of City College.”
Chancellor Art Tyler said he is proud of the work of faculty, staff, students and administrators to produce the outcome.
“We had mountains to move and we moved them,” Tyler said.
In its statement Wednesday, the commission noted 32 areas of “continuing noncompliance” that need to be addressed. Hamilton said CCSF already has a plan for each of them.
“It's a doable set of tasks,” Hamilton said. “We have action plans for each of the items that we've identified and that they've identified.”
California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice Harris echoed that CCSF has shown itself to be a strong and longstanding institution.
“Through hard work and focused commitment by the college community, City College has entered a phase of stability and sustained improvement that will serve students well for many years to come,” Harris said.
The school will undergo a comprehensive evaluation in seeking to reaffirm its accreditation in the fall of 2016, and the commission will review the case the following January.
The college is also awaiting the outcome of a trial between the City Attorney's Office and the ACCJC over allegations that the commission unfairly sought to strip CCSF of its accreditation in 2013.
But CCSF faculty union president Tim Killikelly said he suspects the ACCJC released its statement on restoration status within a week of voting because of the pending tentative ruling in the trial. He noted that the commission typically takes nearly 30 days after voting on an issue to announce its decisions.
“It's a clear attempt to try to have undue influence on the judge in the process,” Killikelly claimed.
During closing arguments last month and in its post-trial brief, the City Attorney's Office stated that restarting the process in 2012 that led to the threatening of CCSF's accreditation would be preferable to restoration status.
The ACCJC announced in 2013 that it would revoke CCSF's accreditation, effective this past July. However, the subsequent lawsuit by the City Attorney's Office prompted a judge to issue an injunction barring the loss of accreditation until the outcome of the trial.
Losing accreditation would effectively force CCSF to close.