Decision-Making Behind the Curtain: Board Defends Closed Sessions

By Casey Michie


As the City College of San Francisco Board of Trustees navigate decisive matters, the use of closed sessions play an essential role in the advancement of key issues.

From March 2020 to the writing of this article, the board has engaged in 52 public meetings, 25 of which have included closed sessions. This number of closed sessions is on par with the previous year of a similar timeframe where 16 of the 33 meetings included closed sessions.

Of the past year’s 25 closed sessions, six included reports of actionable items, including declaring a state of emergency for the school due to the pandemic, the release of Chancellor Mark Rocha, an access easement agreement between the city and college, and actions taken in regard to the appointment of interim chancellors.

Alan Wong, a newly elected member of the board, said the closed sessions “are used to discuss confidential matters that require [the board] to work together to find solutions.” According to Wong, recent closed sessions in 2021 have been used to address topics of hiring new personnel, lawsuits, and collective bargaining.

Asked about transparency regarding closed sessions, Wong said, “If people have questions, [the Board of Trustees has] a duty to uphold trust with the public. We encourage [the public] to bring any concern they may have to us, so we can address the issues on a case-by-case basis publicly.

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