A group of City College of San Francisco students held a rally at the college’s Chinatown/North Beach campus Wednesday afternoon to demand that several recently eliminated classes be restored.
According to the American Federation of Teachers union 2121, several courses with healthy enrollments have been cut from the Fall 2019 schedule and many have been replaced with online sections.
The plan, union officials said, was made without input from faculty, students and community stakeholders and doesn’t make fiscal sense, as many of the removed classes bring revenue to the school.
Among the departments affected: English as a second language (ESL), computer science, ethnic studies, nursing, math and hospitality among others. The changes to the Fall 2019 schedule are part of a plan to decrease course offerings by one third by 2025, increase class size and push students into online sections, union officials said.
“Our job at City College is to break down the barriers to college success, not to put up new walls and new barriers to their success. And I don’t see how we as a community college can meet these completion goals, associate degrees, certificates and transfers; that are now going to be tied to our college funding from the state if we are cutting classes in such a serious and drastic way,” said CCSF Counselor Li Lovett.
“It doesn’t make sense if we try to consolidate. In the interest of productivity, to say ‘those of you who are taking a 10 a.m. class will all have to migrate over to the 11 a.m. or noon’ when you have so many responsibilities or obligations or jobs to fulfill. This makes no sense,” she said.
Jenny Worley with AFT 2121 said, “We are just handed these cuts to our departments without any consultation from the department chairs, the faculty, the counselors, the librarians; the people who know the students best and understand the students’ needs.”
“When the chancellor moves to cut so many diversity classes, he is shutting off the college as a community institution and it’s moving in a direction that doesn’t fit the needs of San Francisco,” said student Marcos Cruz.
Ethnic Studies student WinMon Kyi said, “It is just outrageous to hear and to witness the downsizing and cuts that have happened to a lot of the most valuable departments under the diversity collaborative: Asian American Studies, African American studies, LGBTQ studies, and many, many departments that were fought for.
“We want to tell the board of trustees, the chancellor that we want to continue serving the people; that these classes are for the community and that this is a relationship we want to continue because when you cut these classes, you’re also disproportionately affecting the communities that really depend on these classes,” she said.
“If we want to continue to see CCSF serve all people from different backgrounds, of different statuses and pursuing relevant education for their personal development, then we need to continue to defend and expand these departments,” Kyi said.
According to CCSF Chancellor Mark Rocha, the school is not cutting classes but instead eliminating under-enrolled courses and re-allocating resources to develop new programs and support students in existing programs so that they can graduate and transfer.
The priority shift is due to recent policy changes at the state level: adjustments to the funding formula and changes to students’ placement in English and math classes, he said.
“City College plans to offer more seats to students in high demand subject areas that lead to graduation and transfer, providing increased opportunities for students to achieve their academic goals. These adjustments to the class schedule will make it easier for the college to maintain a student-focused mission by adding classes in the areas of greatest demand,” Rocha said in a statement.
“The 2019-2020 class schedule adjustments are designed to redirect resources towards areas of academic growth, which better serves our students by enabling them to graduate and transfer in less time,” he said.
Daniel Montes, Bay City Newseducation