By Madeline Collins:
With lawsuits filed against the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges from the California Federation of Teachers and San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, it is now the commission’s turn to be put under the microscope.
The U.S. Department of Education will soon be conducting its five-year review of the commission to determine whether it should maintain its status as California’s accrediting body.
The department has said that they have made preliminary findings that the commission is out of compliance in some areas, such as conflict of interest and requirement clarity.
The commission, seemingly under pressure, is now seeking support from what some would consider unlikely sources.
Commission president Barbara Beno sent a letter to the Association of Chief Business Officials seeking support from the 112 California community colleges the commission oversees.
The association is made up of business officials from the state’s community colleges. The letter was addressed to the association’s president Bonnie Dowd.
“The 133 colleges that are members of ACCJC have an interest in helping to ensure their accrediting body achieves renewal of federal recognition,” Beno wrote in the letter.
With the commission’s decision to revoke City College’s accreditation in July 2014, the letter is understandably controversial.
The commission’s purpose is to judge the institutions it oversees, almost without consequence and some from City College have questioned the motive behind their actions.
Its practices have been put into question among faculty, staff, students and community members ever since they put City College on “show cause” in July 2012.
The Save CCSF Coalition has organized several rallies since City College was initially put on “show cause.”
They believe that the commission is aiming to privatize education, making it less accessible to low-income students.
Since last July, City College has been caught in the commission’s web and have had their existence threatened.
The school has been helplessly at the mercy of the accrediting commission and forced to meet their standards and recommendations or risk closure.
Now with these lawsuits and an upcoming review, it seems the commission itself has become the hunted, hoping to be saved by its former victims.