Local activists hosts fundraiser for CCSF

Norman Yee ,left, City Supervisor and former ESL instructor at City College, said to a crowd of City College supporters the school's key role for immigrant students to get their U.S. Citizenship. Photo by Bridgid Skiba/The Guardsman
City Supervisors Norman Yee and David Campos speak to City College supporters at a fundraiser for the Save CCSF Coalition on Nov. 24,2013. Photo courtesy of Bridgid Skiba

By Jackson Ly/The Guardsman

Local politicians and community members raised $16,000 for the Save CCSF Coalition at a Nov. 24 champagne brunch fundraiser hosted by 93-year-old grassroots activist, Jane Morrison.

When the attendees couldn’t fit in Morrison’s Noe Valley house, they convened in front of her doorsteps.

Among the attendees were such prominent San Francisco officials such as County Supervisors David Campos and Norman Yee as well as Fiona Ma, assistant speaker pro tempore emeritus of the California legislature.

Yee, a former student and ESL instructor at City College, said the school is an important gateway for students to get their U.S. citizenship. He said he was surprised by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges’ decision to revoke City College’s accreditation.

“I don’t know what the hell they were smoking when they thought that they can take on San Francisco. But what do I care [about]. We’re going to kick their butts,” Yee said.

Campos, who represents the Mission and Bernal Heights, addressed the importance of City College to the immigrant, Chinese and Latino communities.

There are over 8,000 students attending City College’s Mission center, with 68 percent of those students being Latin American, according to the college’s website.

Campos said that the accreditation committee describes the basic services City College provides to communities “as peripheral.”

“I think we have to counter that because the very periphery they are talking about is actually the very heart of this institution.” Campos said. “ACCJC chose the wrong city to mess with.”

Donated Money Allocated

State senators Mark Leno and Leland Yee, United States Rep. Jackie Speier and other local activists were invited but couldn’t attend. They sent donations through the mail, which totaled about $11,000.

The money raised by the fundraiser will be used for the third lawsuit against the accreditation commission filed by the Save CCSF Coalition, flying 13 faculty and Associated Students representatives to testify before the U.S. Department of Education in Washington D.C. and preserving the Performing Arts Education Center, which was slated to be built on Ocean campus before the project was cancelled after the accrediting commission’s decision to revoke the college’s accreditation.

The seven Associated Students and six faculty members will testify in front of the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 12 and 13, Wendy Kaufmyn, Save CCSF Coalition faculty member, said.

“We want to prevent the Department of Education from renewing ACCJC authority!” reads the Save CCSF Coalition website.

Civil rights attorney Dan Siegel of Oakland is working pro bono with the Save CCSF Coalition. He filed a lawsuit with the San Francisco Superior Court on Nov. 7 and gave an update at the champagne brunch.

“It’s very simple when you think about it. Their decision should be thrown out because it was made in violation of higher education act and regulations that have been published by the U.S. Department of Education to govern the actions of the accreditation commissions,” Siegel said. “We have three lawsuits…And three’s better than one. The lawyers are all working together.”

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