A sign from a Tuesday, Dec. 10 City Hall rally where supporters of City College of San Francisco urged the Board of Supervisors to support a $2.7 million allocation to prevent the cancellation of nearly 300 classes. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

CCSF administrators and elected leaders need to accept city help to prevent class cuts

By Madeline Mueller

The recent and unprecedented cut of some additional 300 classes from CCSF’s spring 2020 schedule was done not only without warning and unilaterally by a few top administrators. It was done after the department chairs were promised that no additional cuts would be made to the printed schedule. The reduced spring schedule had already been through three months of input and review following all the rules agreed to in the department chairs’ union contract.

The additional cuts were not made randomly despite appearances. They were made primarily to cancel the Community College mission and replace it with the state chancellor’s push for a return to the California Junior College system of 50 years ago, but now to be run by the State.

The cuts were imposed stiletto-fashion to cause the most damage. Cuts to 300 classes specifically made in many cases to certain targeted sections have resulted in upsetting sequencing requirements for many certificates and degrees. For example, the 40% reduction of classes in the Engineering Department has compromised the completion of almost every certificate and degree in that department.

Is this because those completions would train students, many of them part time, for good paying jobs that would make them less likely to be trapped into life-long student debt? Certainly the increase of this debt (now over $1.5 trillion dollars) is the main goal both of the student loan foundation, Lumina, which is promoting junior college “Guided Pathways” especially for full time only students just out of high school required to enroll in corporate styled majors, and the Koch Brothers’ ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council), a right wing neoliberal organization that generates anti-American State laws including the new destructive funding formula for California Community Colleges.

Chancellor Rocha is now saying that he has not made “cuts”; these are “pauses.”

What a ridiculous misuse of words — as though you can ‘pause’ (for a year, he is projecting) the bleeding out of the deep, precise gashes you have inflicted on so many departments, faculty, students and the community.

The state takeover of CCSF from 2012 to 2017 was proven during two legal procedures and judgments to have been based on purposely false information. According to the annual, double-audited, state-required 311 Reports, City College had no budget deficits before the illegal takeover! If there is a budget crisis now, it is entirely the fault of the current chancellor and his announced friend and close ally, the state chancellor (who received an unprecedented no confidence vote by the State Faculty Association last year).

At the very least, San Francisco supervisors should vote for the modest bridge funding that would put the cut classes back into the publicized, official spring 2020 schedule. Also, having these classes once again available is no doubt the best possible investment the City could make in support of resolving many city-wide mental health issues.

San Francisco has paid for its community college and the college’s community services for decades. Outside forces should not be allowed to ruin both CCSFs — the City College of San Francisco and the City and County of San Francisco.

Department chairs at the college have given their assurance that the cut classes can be rescheduled as late start sections. Faculty and rooms are available.

And if Chancellor Rocha and his Board of Trustees refuse the much needed funding bridge while they work with an independent budget analyst to find out the real problems at CCSF,

— and if they refuse to return health benefits and income to long time dedicated part-time faculty,

— and if they continue to target those award winning programs that gives CCSF its special “brand,”

— and if they especially destroy classes for older adults and all classes taught by returning retired faculty with no exceptions even for classes and faculty with the highest worldwide reputations,

then, SHAME !

Yes, the college doesn’t need a “bandaid” for the recent vicious cuts, we need a tourniquet and we need it immediately.

Madeline Mueller is chair of the Music Department and has been a faculty member since 1965.

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