City College of San Francisco’s struggle to survive took another turn this morning. The San Francisco city attorney’s office announced it is filing two lawsuits in an effort to keep CCSF open.
City Attorney Dennis Herrera said one lawsuit is against the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), the agency that accredits two-year colleges conferring associate degrees, on the grounds that it improperly sanctioned CCSF. The suit alleges the ACCJC unlawfully allowed its advocacy and political bias to prejudice its evaluation of whether CCSF met college accreditation standards, he said. “It is a matter of public record that the ACCJC has been an advocate to reshape the mission of California community colleges,” Herrera said.
The other suit is against the Board of Governors of California Community Colleges, the public agency that oversees CCSF and the state’s 183 other community colleges and community college districts. That suit alleges that the board “impermissibly delegated its statutory obligations to set standards and determine eligibility for public funding to a wholly unaccountable private entity,” meaning the ACCJC.
The ACCJC announced last month that CCSF would lose its accreditation at the end of July 2014. CCSF is appealing the decision and is addressing recommendations made by the commission, including making changes to its governance structure and finances.
The ACCJC itself is under fire from the U.S. Department of Education, which last week issued a letter that found fault with the commission’s accrediting process for CCSF.
And just yesterday, state legislators approved a request to audit the ACCJC. State Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, said the audit is necessary because ACCJC “virtually operates unfettered with little to no oversight, yet its decisions have a direct impact on the world’s biggest system of higher education with more than 2 million students.
“The public and the Legislature deserves to understand how this commission makes and arrives at decisions that affect the futures of so many Californians.”