By Tim Maguire:
The momentum to keep City College open and accessible continues to build as over 100 students, faculty and staff demonstrated at the Accrediting Commission of Community and Junior Colleges’ main office in Novato on Oct. 11.
“Acting in vast contrast to the long standing open access mission of California community colleges, the ACCJC wants to narrow that mission and not give access to those who need and want higher education,” Save CCSF Coalition organizer and City College instructor Wendy Kaufmyn said.
The rally was held to protest the accrediting commission’s sanctions placed on City College and other schools across the state that would reduce accessibility for non-traditional students.
Non-traditional students are students who are not on a two-year associate degree or transfer program, taking non-credit English classes to improve their chances of employment or taking training classes for a career change.
The City College Labor Chorus led renditions of songs like “This Land Is Your Land,” “Over The Rainbow” and “Row Row Row Your Boat,” with lyrics adapted to City College’s struggle.
“The ACCJC sanctions more community colleges in California than all other accrediting institutions in the country combined,” Kaufmyn said.
Dan Kaplan, executive secretary of the American Federation of Teachers Local 1493 representing teachers from the College of San Mateo, Cañada and Skyline College, pledged solidarity with City College’s faculty union AFT Local 2121 and the Save CCSF Coalition.
“I have a sense that a powerful momentum is building all over the state in support of this fight, and I’m certain you will win this struggle for quality education … onward to victory,” Kaplan said.
Ralliers erupted in applause.
The accrediting commission was recently audited by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee due to “increasing concerns throughout the California community college system about how they go about the accreditation process.”
Superintendent of Public Education for the State of California Tom Torkelson has asked the accrediting commission to rescind its ruling against City College because it was decided by a flawed process.
“The ACCJC’s actions are political and do nothing to help the students,” Associated Student Council Senator Lalo Gonzalez said. “What the ACCJC doesn’t realize is that they’ve awoken a sleeping giant.”