Students Keep Pressure on City and College to Keep Older Adults Courses

By Alexa Bautista


City College students are still reeling from last semester when without warning, almost the entire Older Adults Program (OLAD) was cut from the Spring 2020 schedule, leaving students with no classes and professors laid-off. 

These class cuts have dramatically affected figure drawing instructor Meiru Huang. “I taught the class from spring 2016-fall 2019. CCSF announced class cuts back in November 2019 without consulting with our chair or dean. Some OLAD classes had been restored due to our students’ protests. Unfortunately not for my class even though I had about 28-35 students who have shown up constantly in each session.” Huang said. 

Here is the biggest disappointment for me: we don’t feel valued. Both senior students and faculty members. The school tried to label us as “under-enrolled” classes, which is not true at all. As a figure drawing class, I schedule models to come in for students to draw from. Our students even paid for the model fees by donating money to CCSF/OLAD.”


Dignity Fund

In December, Mayor London Breed announced that 17 of the 50 OLAD classes would be reinstated through monetary support from the San Francisco Dignity Fund, a resource which “stabilizes funding for current services and support for older adults, veterans, adults with disabilities, and caregivers.”

In Nov. 2016, the Dignity Fund was passed by San Francisco voters to “allocate $38 million annually with increases until June 30, 2037.” The Dignity Fund is managed by the Department of Disability and Aging Services and programs under this entity are typically administered by non-profits such as YMCA Stonestown and Aquatic Park.


Dignity Fund Coalition

Shortly after the passing of this measure, the Dignity Fund Coalition was formed by “San Francisco nonprofit and community organizations and advocates.” The coalition was created to improve the allocation of funding and remain supportive for people with disabilities and older adults in San Francisco. 

The Dignity Fund Coalition meets every fourth Wednesday of the month to discuss community needs and to oversee the allocation of the Dignity Fund. 

The coalition has estimated nearly 14,000 seniors and people with disabilities who need in-home care cannot afford private care and 1,000 adults have been waitlisted for San Francisco’s grocery delivery program. The Dignity Fund Coalition did not respond to The Guardsman’s request for comment by press time.


Steps Forward

The printed schedule for Spring 2020 included 19 classes offered by City College’s OLAD, but the class cuts in November 2019 eliminated most of them. The web4 registration system showed only five Older Adults classes were available this semester. OLAD Chair Kelvin Young did not respond to The Guardsman’s request for comment by press time.

OLAD student Julie Rothman took her own steps to ensure her classes would be reinstated.

 “I wrote to every supervisor, not just my own, but to everyone including London Breed. I attended meetings and was on email lists that were very long” she said. 

“Seniors pay a lot of taxes and there are a lot of seniors in this city, and I think this is age discrimination very clearly.”


The Guardsman