Restoration

My goal and my work is to help City College of San Francisco be the best college it can be for its students, its community, and its workers (in that order). Anything else is beside the point.

So even though I haven’t written for several months it does not mean I’ve been inactive or that I’m past caring about the fate of City College. I’ve been silent because it’s been hard to know what to say. Between the ACCJC keeping the college’s feet to the fire while itself facing criticism on several fronts, a student protest gone very wrong, and a vocal group of my colleagues who see the accreditation crisis as a corporate takeover, it’s been difficult to find room to say something that would not harm the chances of keeping the college open.

And now Restoration. In an historic event, the accrediting commission created a new status — “restoration” — apparently specifically for City College of San Francisco. And in a very carefully worded letter that outlines several concerns they have with restoration status, the CCSF administration applied for it. The application was accepted and the college, which was slated to lose accreditation on July 31, 2014, is now officially “accredited, pending termination.”

As a result, the college has begun to evaluate itself, writing up with careful evidence how it meets each one of the accreditation standards or providing a detailed plan to meet those standards it does not yet meet. A team from the ACCJC will visit CCSF in mid-November to evaluate and verify our evaluation; if we’ve done our job and the commission believes us, the college will be “accredited, on restoration status” for two years. Somewhere near the end of those two years, the commission will again visit and decide if the college is in full compliance with all standards. If we do, we’ll remain accredited. If not, we won’t.

While this is a lot of work for the college and some feel we’re being held to an unfair standard, I agree with CCSF Chancellor Tyler when he wrote to the college community that restoration status “offers CCSF the best opportunity to meet the needs of its students and the San Francisco community at this time.” Tyler has not ruled out legal action to keep the college open in the future, but court cases are risky and even victories often pyrrhic. So, we make sure we’re meeting the standards and prove that we are.

And that’s a good thing. It’s about making sure the college’s house is in order. As I’ve said before, it’s our job and it’s what our students and our community deserve.

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