Hundreds of people marched to San Francisco City Hall Thursday afternoon demanding support for City College. Protesters asked the city to commit to funding the school and to reverse cuts to classes, programs and staff.
The school faces a Friday deadline to demonstrate to the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges that it has addressed 14 serious management and fiscal problems the commission identified earlier this year. If the commission decertifies the school, City College would lose federal funding and could be effectively shut down this summer.
Protesters stopped at Mission High School where students joined the protest, and the march continued into City Hall. Police, who had been escorting the crowd on bicycles, formed a line to keep the crowd from going further.
The crowd chanted, “Come out, Mr. Lee.”
Mayor Ed Lee did not appear. Marchers stayed inside for about 20 minutes before moving outside to hear speeches.
Unlike past Save CCSF protests, which targeted school administrators, this one urged elected city officials to take action. The Save CCSF Coalition said they want the city of San Francisco to commit to filling any budget gaps the school experiences, and to reverse cuts to classes, programs and staff with funds from Proposition A, which was passed by local voters last November.
“The Proposition A money that was promised to come back to City College to bring back the laid off teachers and the programs that have been cut—it’s not coming here,” Professor Elizabeth Silver, who teaches English as a Second Language, told KQED’s Guy Marzorati. “It’s being put in the reserve, it’s being used to pay consultants, and that’s not what the citizens voted for. ”
In recent months City College has cut several certificate programs, staff salaries and staff positions to balance the school’s budget. The school also cut classes and let class sizes grow.
A Bay Citizen investigation revealed that the college spends 92 percent of its budget on salaries and benefits in general.
The group Save CCSF also called on the U.S. Department of Education to stop what they call the accreditation commission’s “unjustified” actions against the school.