Commission upholds revoking CCSF accreditation

A regional commission Wedneday¬†said it has voted to uphold a previous decision to revoke City College of San Francisco’s accreditation, despite efforts to have it overturned.

The Novato-based western regional branch of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges was ordered in February by San Francisco Superior Court Judge Curtis Karnow to reconsider its June 2013 decision to revoke City College’s accreditation.

The ruling was the result of a lawsuit filed by San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera in 2013 alleging the previous commission decision violated the college’s due process rights.

Following the ruling, City College officials submitted supplemental information arguing that the school was in compliance with accreditation standards in 2013. However, the commission voted on July 8 to uphold the revocation, according to a letter from commission President Barbara Beno.

A city attorney’s office spokesman did not return phone calls today seeking comment on the commission’s decision.

City College spokesman Jeff Hamilton today said that college officials were “not surprised” by the decision.

The school remains “fully accredited” and continues to work toward meeting all accreditation standards under a two year restoration process established by the commission earlier this year, Hamilton noted.

“Everything that we’ve been doing to improve City College is still moving forward,” Hamilton said. “We are highly confident that we’ll meet all the standards.” Under the restoration process, which is proceeding separately from the reconsideration triggered by Herrera’s lawsuit, the college will submit a self-evaluation report in August, the commission will send an evaluation team next fall and a final vote will occur on accreditation in January 2017, according to the ACCJC.

The commission cited problems with financial accountability and institutional governance when it announced in 2013 that it planned to revoke the college’s accreditation. The termination was to have taken effect on July 31, 2014, but was halted by a preliminary injunction from Karnow.

The accreditation struggle led the California Community Colleges Board of Governors in 2013 to appoint a special trustee to oversee the college and strip the college’s elected board of power.

The elected board was restored to full power on July 1, Hamilton said.

The California Community Colleges Board of Governors also voted on July 20 to reappoint the special trustee, who has the power to override board decisions. However, Hamilton said the trustee would now primarily hold veto power if the board did something that threatened the college’s recovery and accreditation.

While City College’s enrollment declined following the accreditation decision, Hamilton said it appears to be up around 3 percent this year compared to last fall.