Wednesday, September 27, 2023
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San Francisco City College|Fights for Accreditation

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - City College of San Francisco is closer to losing its accreditation, as a commission rejected its request for a review of its decision to decertify the school.

In a brief letter to administrators, the president of the Accrediting Commission of Community and Junior Colleges was not specific about why the request for review was rejected, except to say that the school had not backed up its request with enough evidence.

Commission President Barbara Beno said the next procedural step to preserve accreditation is for the school to file a formal appeal within 30 days

The commission plans to strip the school of accreditation at the end of July, though a state judge has issued an injunction that temporarily blocks the commission from doing so.

Soon after the commission's revocation decision last summer, San Francisco filed suit on behalf of the school, claiming the commission had stacked the panel that reviewed the school with opponents, including Beno's husband.

Superior Court Judge Curtis Karnow in January imposed a temporary injunction on the commission, until a jury can hear the school's claims that political bias and procedural flaws led to the revocation decision.

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera claims the commission was driven by a legislative and philosophical debate with City College over the purpose of California community colleges. He claims in the lawsuit that the commission's conflict of interest violated California's Business and Professions Code and unfair competition law .

A trial is not scheduled yet; Karnow's order said one would probably not conclude by the end of July, when the revocation would be finalized.

"Given the fact that the balance of harm tips sharply, strikingly, indeed overwhelmingly, in favor of the interest represented by the city attorney, this is enough to authorize preliminary relief," the order states.

Karnow issued a preliminary injunction "barring the commission from finalizing their disaccreditation decision pending further order of the court or final adjudication of the merits in this case."

City College claims to have 80,000 students, making it one of the largest community colleges in the United States, and has said in court filings that the threat of revocation is hurting enrollment.

The commission has cited problems with finances and administration at the school, not with academics.

According to Friday's letter from the commission, an administrative appeal to the body would hold off formalizing the accreditation revocation.

"If the College chooses to file an appeal, during the pendency of the appeal the institution's status with the Commission shall remain the same as it was prior to the decision being appealed. During the period of appeal, City College of San Francisco remains accredited and on Show Cause status."

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