At BOS hearing on CCSF Supervisor asks: Where's the Special Trustee???
At the start of the Neighborhood Services Committee hearing on May 7, 2015, Chair Eric Mar gave props to us Save City College Coalition activists who have been working on the CCCSF issue since January, 2013. Then things got really interesting when he turned the microphone over to Supervisor Campos who asked: where’s Special Trustee Lease? When it turned out the Special Trustee hadn’t bothered to come to San Francisco for the hearing, Campos said it illustrates the problem: “We have a special trustee who is completely unaccountable.”
Many speakers voiced appreciation to City Attorney Dennis Herrera who, in August, 2013, sued the ACCJC for violations of state and federal law in the process they used to sanction the college. By most accounts, it was that lawsuit which saved the college from being shut down on July 31, 2014 due to the ACCJC’s termination order issued the prior year. One of the unsung heroes of that lawsuit, Deputy City Attorney Yvonne Mere, updated the supervisors on CCSF’s current litigation status. In the process, Mere gave a brilliant summary of the many unsuccessful court motions the ACCJC made to avoid responsibility for their unfair business practices.
Later on, Board of Trustees President Rafael Mandelman and CCSF Chancellor Art Tyler gave their own assessments of City College’s current status regarding accreditation status through what’s called the “restoration” process. While Tyler’s presentation was upbeat and included praise for City College’s teaching effectiveness and tradition of reaching out to its diverse community of stakeholders, Mandelman’s report was more guarded.
To his credit, Mandelman acknowledged that CCSF faculty, who have not had a raise since 2007, are underpaid and staff are overworked. He provided a long list of people or organizations whose efforts have kept city college open: the City Attorney, the State Chancellor, community college CEOs, congressional leadership, the Dept. of Education, state legislators, the Board of Supervisors, organized labor, the Mayor and our business community.
Unlike Supervisor Mar, President Mandelman did not give thanks to the Save CCSF Coalition whose members have worked on this issue from day one, long before any elected officials could bring themselves to acknowledge the overreach of the ACCJC. By thanking the Mayor for his efforts, he prompted a challenge from Supervisor Campos who asked what, exactly, has the Mayor done to save CCSF? Mandelman answered that question as best he could under the circumstances and I, for one, was glad Campos challenged him on that point.