David Campos is a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors representing District 9, including the Mission, Bernal Heights, St. Mary’s Park and Portola neighborhoods.

The Guardsman: What does City College mean to you?

David Campos: It’s a very important institution, and it’s there to educate so many people, and opens a lot of doors for many people to access education and create a better life for themselves and their families. So it’s definitely a very important institution for the city that we need to protect.

TG: What’s your position on the situation?

Campos: We need to make sure that City College is financially stable, but I also think that we have to make sure that the core qualities and characteristics that have made City College so important are not lost. And that in the course of saving City College, we don’t destroy it also.

TG: What can you do in your position to help the school?

Campos: I think what we have tried to do is be very supportive of City College by way of resolution, but also I think the city needs to think of ways in which it can be financially helpful to City College.

Legally, we don’t have any authority over City College, but we want people to know that the city is paying attention to what happens and that the city government is paying attention in particular. So I think we need to make ourselves available to help in any way we can and to make sure that we also represent the needs and the interest of our constituents.

A lot of people in our district, District 9, go to City College. Many of them not only study there but also teach there, and I want to make sure that they’re protected.

TG: City College was warned that it had 14 major problems that needed to be addressed. Moreover, many teachers have been cut, as well as classes. Do you think that there is a lack of leadership? If so, is there anything you’d like to tell the City College Board of Trustees?

Campos: I think the Board of Trustees needs to be more engaged and more active. I have a lot of respect for individual members of the board, but I think that there needs to be more engagement and more transparency in terms of what is happening at City College. There has to be more responsiveness to the needs of the students, teachers and entire community.

TG: What would you like to say to the students of City College?

Campos: I want the students, teachers and administrative staff of City College to know that the city government is paying attention and that we’re not going to look the other way, and that we want to do everything we can to help City College. But we also don’t want City College to become disconnected from the community. We want it to be accountable for the community.

(Interview by Alejandro Galicia)

John Avalos is a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors representing District 11, including the neighborhoods of Cayuga Terrace, Crocker Amazon, Excelsior and Ocean View/Merced Heights/Ingleside.

The Guardsman: What’s your position on the situation?

John Avalos: If City College shuts down because of the accreditation issue, it will be a big blow to San Francisco, especially working communities in San Francisco. A lot of people in District 11 rely on City College where you can get the credits for applying to higher education, universities, and it is a place for them to get training.

TG: What does City College mean to you?

Avalos: A lot of people will lose the opportunity to advance. City College serves as an institution to help. If it is gone, we lose the opportunities and a tool for people to advance academically.

(Interview by Peiru Lu)

Tom Ammiano is a California state assemblyman representing the 17th Assembly District and San Francisco in the California State Assembly.

The Guardsman: What does City College mean to you?

Tom Ammiano: City College means a lot of things to me. Obviously, I have a personal connection to education because of my experience as a teacher. I got into teaching because I saw what it could do for people from all kinds of backgrounds and City College is an embodiment of that educational goal. I also have a personal connection because my daughter attended classes there.

It’s a great institution because it provides different kinds of education depending on the students’ needs, whether it’s a single adult education class or a stepping stone to the California university system.

Lastly, I love City College because of the way it embodies San Francisco ideals of diversity and equality. You can see that, among other places, in the college’s dedication to LGBT studies.

TG: What’s your position on the situation?

Ammiano: As I said, the great thing about CCSF is the way it upholds San Francisco values. It has been that way for a long time. Now, along comes the accreditation commission with the message that things have to change. This has hurt the reputation of the school and caused enrollment to drop.

There may be things that have to change, but we have to keep our unique values. That means we have to keep programs that serve the parts of our community that are most in need and continue to offer as much as we can of the classes demanded by the tens of thousands of students. It also means that change cannot happen in a dictatorial fashion.

The City College administration has to be open and transparent about change, and it must involve students, teachers and line staff in discussions of how to fix the things we know need fixing. Otherwise, we get a climate of distrust that can undermine the educational mission. We can’t allow the accreditation difficulties to divide us and create fear about change.

TG: What can you do, or have done, in your position to help the school?

Ammiano: I have asked my staff in Sacramento and San Francisco to be attentive to what has been going on and to be involved in meetings to try to bring resolution to the matter. I did ask the accreditation body to give City College more time to respond, but the deadline has passed.

I support the involvement of college labor groups in the discussions, and I’ve encouraged people to continue to show their confidence in CCSF by enrolling. I even have a button on my Assembly website to link directly to CCSF.

TG: Do you have any other thoughts on the matter?

Ammiano: The key thing is that we need to work together to keep CCSF headed in the right direction, serving and representing all of San Francisco.

(Interview by Minter McHugh)

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