By Nigel Flores
City College Board of Trustee candidates addressed faculty and student’s concerns at the first public forum of its kind on Oct. 26.
The incumbents a seeking to maintain their seats on the board included Alex Randolph, Amy Bacharach and Rafael Mandelman.
Randolph, most recently worked as a special assistant for the U.S. General Services Administration.
Bacharach is a Senior Research Analyst for the Judicial Council’s Center for Families, Children and the Courts.
Mandelman, who is a Deputy City Attorney with the City of Oakland is currently president of the Board of Trustee.
Shanell Williams, the only African-American woman running for office citywide, is a City College graduate and a former student trustee who is involved in the Save CCSF Coalition. She worked to on increasing the student minimum wage to $10.74 per hour and has taken a stand for increasing it $15 per hour.
Candidate Tom Temprano was not present for the forum.
The candidates were juggling many issues including dropping enrollment, class cancellations, and access to resources to for all 11 campuses–all while the accreditation issue looms over the college.
Sharen, an English as a Second Language (ESL) student at the Chinatown campus, voiced a concern as to how board members will advocate for non-credit students to become student leaders. Non-credit students are currently unable to serve as student leaders, and the majority of international students start as non-credit students.
Candidates agreed that the issue of student leadership is mostly a state issue, but it the issue has been previously discussed at board meetings. Mandelman said the board had sent a request to the state to change this policy but was not aware of any new developments.
“This has been discussed a lot, however it is a state issue,” Bacharach said. “All students
should be able to serve. Student government is important for all credit students.”
When asked about the soaring costs of insurance, which does not provide full coverage
that international students are required to buy, all the candidates responded as being surprisingly unfamiliar with the issue.
“We need to partner with our city and county to look at ways to support our students,”
Williams said. “It’s not fair for students that have to take on that burden living in the most
unaffordable city in the country.”
Affordability is a concern among many students on campus. Also, enrollment has dropped from over a 100,000 to about 70,000 this year.
“Enrollment is key,” Williams said. “We need to do everything we can to restore City College.”
Currently, students are making less than minimum wage for work-study jobs on campus. Many students can no longer afford to live in the city as housing prices continue to skyrocket.
The college is also taking heat from officials after City College issued a request to lease or sell a property located on 33 Gough St. to a market-rate housing developer, instead of creating affordable housing for future faculty and students.
When asked about raising the student minimum wage Mandelman said, “There is
only a certain amount of work-study money. If we raise it, it will result in less student workers.”
Randolph, among other candidates, was promoting passage of Proposition W to make the college free for San Francisco residents.
Randolph, a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, also wants to partner with public transportation providers to give students free passes for BART and Muni.
The board candidates main goals seemed to show their greatest differences in an otherwise monotone forum.
Bacharach’s main focus would be to create an alumni association to develop partnerships with businesses to create another form of revenue for the college.
Mandelman and Randolph’s focus would be to get through the accreditation crisis and keep the college open, while Williams pointed to a dropping enrollment rate at the school.