By Calindra Revier
A public forum was held at City College on Nov. 7, headed by Congresswoman Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto and Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, to address the serious issues that have been evoked by the decisions of the accrediting commission.
The forum was held to discuss whether the accrediting process for California’s community colleges is fair and accountable.
It allowed attendees to express concerns to the panel, who displayed a unified message City College will not close.
“We’re here to get some answers,” Speier said. “This forum is for those of us who do not want to sit and wait.”
Eshoo spoke about the economic downturn and the reality for many students working multiple jobs to support themselves and their families for a better future.
“I know community colleges are not just places of learning, they’re community centers with real people overcoming real world issues,” Eshoo said.
Eshoo is concerned the accreditation process will threaten students’ opportunities.
“When I learned of the accusations against California’s Community Colleges Accrediting agency for treating community colleges unfairly during their accreditation review I was especially troubled,” Eshoo said.
Sen. Beall recently submitted a request, along with Sen. Jim Neilsen, to audit the commission.
“There are many unanswered questions and confusion and misguided information. Our students really deserve better than that and that’s what we’re all about—our students,” Beall said.
Their request was approved.
“Despite the destruction of records that took place immediately after we disclosed we were going to propose an audit, we will conduct an audit,” Beall said. “I guarantee our auditors will fight [and] will look in every crevice and cranny of the accreditation commission to get all the information we need to have an audit completed.”
Among the guest speakers was Ron Galatolo, the chancellor of the San Mateo Community College District who has been outspoken against the accrediting commission despite having three fully accredited colleges.
“Our entire community college system is and has been under attack for an extended period of time. Its time to make this an issue. City’s earned financial shortfalls is essentially a result of students electing not to attend a college in perceived chaos,” Galatolo said. The only plausible explanation for city’s massive enrollment decline is due to the severe overzealous actions taken by the ACCJC. Simply the punishment does not fit the crime.”