By Jen Verzosa and Jackson Ly
As the deadline for City College’s Show Cause and Closure Report looms, Student Trustee William Walker organized two town hall-style forums Jan. 24 at Ocean Campus’s Ram Plaza to educate a student populace largely in the dark about the facts surrounding the school’s precarious accreditation status.
Around 30 students gathered for the first forum at noon, with the second one drawing a much smaller crowd—less than a dozen— including Walker, Associated Students President Shanell Williams and Vice-President Melanie Ortanez.
The crowd’s size appeared to have no effect on Walker’s apparent fervor, who eschewed the traditional question-and-answer format in favor of singling out participants to see what they knew about City College’s accreditation.
“I don’t know what to believe,” second semester student Griffin Robbins said. “The SF Chronicle is telling us one thing, and our professors are telling us another.”
Currently City College is a fully accredited community college, but it was found to be in “substantial noncompliance” with the regulations of the Accreditation Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.
In its evaluation report, the commission made 14 recommendations that detail areas in which the college needs to make improvements.
The college was placed on show cause status on July 1, 2012, and now it is required to substantiate by March 15 why its accreditation should not be revoked.
“City College is not going to close. We’re not closing, and we have our accreditation,“ Williams said. “What you’re hearing from the media is not the full picture of the story, so don’t believe the hype.”
In addition to the Show Cause report, the college is also required to submit a Closure Report that delineates a plan that would enable City College students to continue on their educational trajectories.
“Since City College still has its accreditation, all the classes we’re taking now still count and are transferrable,” Grecia Cadstameda, a member of the student council, said. She stressed that the commission’s decision this upcoming summer cannot be applied retroactively.
Oscar Peña, another student council member, asked the crowd whether or not they valued their education. “Yeah,” the students cheered in unison.
Two other schools in California are currently on show cause and three have closed since 2002 after losing their accreditation.