By Elisabetta Silvestro
Chancellor Arthur Tyler has rejected the April 12 proposal of applying for “candidacy” recommended by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges chair and vice chair.
In an editorial written for the San Francisco Chronicle, ACCJC chair Sherrill Amador and vice chair Steven Kinsella wrote the “solution for City College is clear: candidacy leading to re-accreditation.” That would mean the college would voluntarily give up its accreditation and begin a new accreditation process, as new colleges are required to do.
The chancellor responded two days after Amador and Kinsella’s opinion article with a letter to the college community. He wrote that City College is not considering withdrawing its accreditation.
“To do so would severely harm our current and future students as well as undermine our current enrollment efforts,” Tyler wrote.
City College was supposed to lose its accreditation July 31 after the accrediting commission ruled the school had not adequately met the standards to maintain its accreditation status.
But due to a lawsuit filed in San Francisco Superior Court by City Attorney Dennis Herrera against the commission, a trial has been scheduled for October to determine whether the commission conducted their investigation properly.
City College is guaranteed to remain accredited at least until a trial verdict is reached.
The college also filed an appeal in February asking the accrediting commission to review its pending action. The commission will announce its decision on July 31.
“(We) feel we have a very compelling case for retaining our accreditation,” Tyler wrote.
In their opinion piece, Amador and Kinsella wrote that applying for candidacy would give City College a “fresh start” and enough time—two to four years—to fulfill accreditation standards.
They also wrote that “a candidate college is eligible for federal financial aid and state funding; its students’ course credits are generally transferrable (sic), and their degrees or certificates are recognized, as long as the college eventually obtains accreditation … ”
The Chronicle published another article on April 22 by education reporter Nanette Asimov that pointed out errors contained in Amador and Kinsella’s piece.
Paul Feist, a spokesman for California Community Colleges Chairman Brice Harris, said candidate colleges are not eligible for state funding.
In response to Asimov’s reporting, a spokesperson for accrediting commission chair Amador said that “special state legislation might be needed” if City College lost its accreditation for California funding to continue to flow to the school.
Asimov also cited unnamed U.S. Department of Education officials who said that federal regulations require a college that has lost its accreditation to wait two years to become eligible to offer federal student financial aid.
Amador and Kinsella’s claim that degrees and certificates that are issued by a candidacy school would be recognized by other schools is also incorrect, according to Asimov’s article. That would be the case only if the students graduate after the college is accredited again.
If a student was in their final semester at a college in candidacy, they would either graduate with an invalid degree or they would have to continue to attend the college in the hope of seeing it accredited again and then graduate.
Tyler wrote that over the past two years, remarkable progress has been made and almost 85 percent of the 323 items cited by the accreditors have been fixed.