A team from the discredited, rogue accrediting agency will visit City College this month as part of a final determination on the status of the school – and at the same time, the federal government is moving toward revoking the status of the accreditor.
The next few months will be a critical time: If the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges decides that City College fails to meet any one of a long list of demands, the school can but shuttered – with no appeal and no due process rights.
On the other hand, the ACCJC itself may be effectively gone in a few months: State officials have announced they want a new accreditor and the federal Department of Education is reviewing whether to pull the agency’s license.
Three members of Congress from the Bay Area – Reps. Nancy Pelosi, Jackie Speier, and Anna Eshoo – wrote to the secretary of education Sept. 9 and urged him to “deny the [ACCJC] as a recognized accreditor” and help the state’s community college system transition to a new form of oversight.
At a press briefing yesterday, a group of student and faculty leaders outlined the problems with the ACCJC, the damage that it’s done to the school, and the road forward.
Some of the data is astonishing. Since the ACCJC threatened to close the school, City College has lost almost 25,000 students. That’s more than the entire student body of a lot of community colleges.
When it comes to students of color, the results are devastating. Win-Mon Kyi, a student leader, said that City College has lost 38 percent of its African American students. Reports show that 37 percent of Native American students, 31 percent of Filipino students, and 18 percent of Latina/Latino students have left the school.
More than 200 faculty members have lost their jobs. “The labor policy of the [state] takeover is to convert from a high ratio of full-time faculty to a high ratio of precariously employed part-time faculty,” a statement from Save City College notes.
Tarik Farrar, immediate past chair of the African American Studies Department, noted that 774 classes have been cut. Edgar Torres, a professor of Latin American Studies, explained that the administration now wants at least 20 students in each class and in many cases, particularly in social science and humanities classes, the number if 35 or more. At times, the number of students he’s had in the classroom has reached 45.
“You can’t teach 35 students” and give them all the attention they need, he said. Since a significant number of City College students are at risk for dropping out, the larger classes are a recipe for disaster.
“The at-risk population is going to fail,” he said.
Tim Killikelly, president of the teacher’s union, said that the ACCJC visiting team, including academics from other schools, will take a look at City College operations, but won’t even be allowed to give formal advice to the full commission. “They don’t want a recommendation,” he said. “The ACCJC alone with decide if we are in “full compliance,” and we don’t even know what that means. It’s outrageous.”