Calif. System’s Chancellor Has Stern Words for City College of San Francisco

The City College of San Francisco has failed to govern itself and must do “heavy lifting” to fix its problems, or it will lose its accreditation and be forced to close, Brice W. Harris, chancellor of the California Community Colleges system, said in a meeting with the editorial board of the San Francisco Chronicle on Thursday.

The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges announced on July 3 that it had decided to terminate the college’s accreditation, effective July 31, 2014, because the college had failed to correct deficiencies the commission noted when it placed the institution on warning status a year earlier. After the commission’s announcement last week, the college system’s governing board voted to give a special trustee “extraordinary powers” to act unilaterally in dealing with the accreditor’s concerns about the college’s finances and governance.

In his comments to the newspaper on Thursday, Mr. Harris was unreceptive to arguments raised by City College faculty leaders that the accrediting commission was treating the college unfairly. “They need to take the fight with the commission someplace else,” he said. Instead, he called on faculty members to “marshal their forces to meet the accreditation standards.”

Throughout his meeting with the editors, the newspaper said, the chancellor’s unwavering message was that 111 of California’s 112 community colleges were living by the accreditation rules. Only one, the City College of San Francisco, was not. “The only thing that makes City College unique,” he said, “is its unwillingness to fix its own problems.”

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