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Tuesday, August 3, 2021

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UncategorizedA huge victory for City College

A huge victory for City College

Karnow’s injunction means the school can actively recruit students knowing that a July 31, 2014 deadline is no longer in place.

The judge denied a similar motion filed by the teachers’ union on largely technical grounds. But that doesn’t matter — it only takes one injunction to keep City College open.

Herrera’s lawsuit charges that the ACCJC’s review process was plagued by conflicts of interest, political agendas, and dubious procedures that even the federal government agrees were a problem.

During court hearings, Karnow asked why an injunction was needed if the case could be scheduled for trial by June. Deputy City Attorney Sara Eisenberg made it clear that a June trial — with a final outcome, no post-trial motions, appeals etc. — was highly unlikely, given the complexity of the case and the fact that the ACCJC was already dragging its feet on responding to discovery motions.

In his ruling, Karnow agreed, saying that the city would be damaged by any effort to close City College.

He also agreed that Herrera’s office has a good chance of winning a trial. That’s necessary for an injunction, and his consideration of the facts of the case should provide hope to City College supporters.

It should also be a warning to the ACCJC: If the agency continues to pursue what Herrera calls a politically motivated effort to shut down one of the best community colleges in the state, it may not only lose in court but face severe political fallout. A jury trial that finds ACCJC intentionally broke the rules to promote a right-wing political agenda would force the state to impose more rules on the private agency.

That’s something Herrera supports: “The state has to have some oversight to ensure that the open-admission process that the Legislature has approved is protected,” he said at a press conference this evening.

I asked Herrera if the Mayor’s Office was helpful in the suit, and he was exceptionally polite, telling us that he had met with Ed Lee’s folks and “educated them” on the role he was playing. That’s politics. That’s what he has to say. The truth is that the mayor has never once publicly supported the elected college board; has never made a single statement endorsing or acknowledging Herrera’s well-founded allegations; and has, in fact, sided with the folks who want to change the mission of City College.

So now we move forward to a court case that could expose the not-so-hidden agenda of the ACCJC and its backers. Or Herrera forces that agency to back off, withdraw the order that would shut down City College, and start following the rules that the feds have set.

There are more than legal issues here; the future of community college education in the United States will play out in a San Francisco courtroom sometime this summer. Or else the ACCJC will decide to avoid a battle that could go all the way to the US Secretary of Education and the Obama Administration, and just fold its tent.

Either way, Herrera has done an immense public service.


Marke B.
Marke Bieschke is the publisher and arts and culture editor of 48 Hills. He co-owns the Stud bar in SoMa. Reach him at marke (at) 48hills.org, follow @supermarke on Twitter.
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  1. What can we learn from the SF CC victory?

    City by city we can rebuild our democracy.

    “Small groups of activists can save the world from global warming, city by city. Its the only thing that ever has.” — Margret Mead.

    What can we learn from Richmond’s struggle against big oil?
    Besides Richmond, what other examples do we have?

    Lancaster, Cal’s Mayor Rex Parris passed a law requiring all new homes to be solar powered. This will create thousands of new solar jobs.
    When one city passed a plastic bag ban, even tho that goes against the Federal Commerce clause and Preemption, eventually small city actions spread and become state laws, (Pot) and Federal policy.
    Even on huge policy issues like world climate change & Federal energy policy.
    The Feed in tariff policy requiring Utilities to pay home owners $0.49 kwh for feeding solar onto the grid, began in one city, in Germany.
    It is now the energy policy of Germany and 69 other nations, including Japan.
    We must fight the corporations, city by city.
    City by city we can reclaim our democracy.

  2. If I was a praying man, I’d be shouting “Praise God!” In any case, it’s nice to win one.
    I went to city college, my mother went to city college, and there is no reason that todays young people, and their children, should not be able to go to city college.

  3. With a huge sense of relief, CCSF faculty are breathing a little easier today. The accrediting agency ACCJC very last concern has been quality higher education for San Francisco’ 80,000+ students. Their real agenda will become clearer as this case goes forward in court. I will never forget that City Attorney Herrera stepped up, with his excellent team, in CCSF’s defense. Sara Eisenberg argued the case magnificently.

  4. To have let the accreditation committee get this far is criminal. That they knew the value of the buildings could be sold for over $800 million says it all: greed.

  5. Way to go Dennis. And about time to expose this illegal attack on our Community College System. San Francisco stands for a lot of things and diversity is one at the top of the ladder. So is equal opportunity which would be damaged if not for this lawsuit and its successful outcome. Mayor Lee just doesn’t get it even though he once championed the cause of people who attend City College. Too much exposure to folks like Gavin, Willie and Rose.

    Nan McGuire

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