Tentative agreement saves jobs
By Lavinia Pisani
As City College waits for the accrediting commission to render a decision about the school’s future, the Department Chair Council is negotiating with the Board of Trustees to save its members’ jobs and the programs that they oversee.
The council and the Board of Trustees have agreed to a tentative agreement that would save the school around $1 million annually and save all 61 chair positions, according to the SF Examiner.
“It shows how committed they are to students and the broader college community,” Darlene Alioto, president of the council, told the Examiner. “I’m so proud that the membership would accept these substantial cuts in compensation but maintain their role as chair.”
Previously, the administration proposed cutting many department chairs and transferring their responsibilities to a much smaller number of deans, as part of a restructuring program intended to cut costs in the name of saving the school’s accreditation.
Many of the smaller departments, known as the Diversity Collaborative, feared that without a dedicated chair their programs would be at risk of being targeted by cuts in the future.
The Diversity Collaborative expressed their concerns at a media briefing on April 9 at Mission campus, several days before the tentative agreement was announced in the Examiner.
“The current interim CCSF administration and Board of Trustees is trying to dismantle the successful department chair structure at the college,” the collaborative said in a prepared statement, and want to replace chairs with “overworked, outsider and out of touch deans.”
They are worried that eliminating chairs will make smaller programs vulnerable to cuts—including African American Studies, Asian American Studies, Disabled Students Programs and Services and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Studies.
“These deans would soon call for additional staff to do the work formerly done by the chairs, doing away with any supposed cost savings,” according to the statement. “The deans’ lack of discipline expertise, community connections and supervisorial time would doom the diversity departments to quick irrelevance.”
Despite having relatively small enrollment numbers when compared to larger programs such as English and math, these departments have a huge impact on students.
“As a queer woman of color, I heard repeatedly that I wasn’t normal or OK and that I had to prove I wasn’t a lazy immigrant,” Maria Morales, a City College student, said at the briefing. “Diversity courses helped me understand that all those lies are called prejudice and that I could achieve my goals.”
The Board of Trustees will discuss the contract negotiations during their closed session meeting on April 25. The administration declined to comment for this story.
A rally organized by the Save CCSF coalition will be held on April 25 at Ocean campus at 5 p.m. before the Board’s 6 p.m. open-session meeting. For more information check saveccsf.org.
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