City College of SF Teachers Accuse Accrediting Commission of Intimidation

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    NEWSLETTERS

    FILE: College campus generic

    City College of San Francisco's teachers have filed a complaint  against the accrediting commission that placed sanctions on the school last  year, accusing the commission of intimidation, a lack of due process and  other violations.

    The American Federation of Teachers Local 2121, which represents  about 600 faculty members at CCSF, joined the California Federation of  Teachers to file the third-party complaint on Tuesday against the Accrediting  Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.

    The commission last July placed CCSF on "show cause" status,  citing more than a dozen problems with the school and requiring it to show  improvement or possibly lose its accreditation when the commission issues a  ruling on June 10.

    Alisa Messer, AFT Local 2121 president, said, "Conflicts of  interest, inconsistencies and violations of due process ... clearly prevented  the ACCJC from evaluating City College of San Francisco in a fair manner."

    Messer said it was "unprecedented to go from no sanctions to 'show  cause'" and said that student enrollment has dropped sharply because of the  accreditation concerns and fears that the school could be forced to close.

    "It's thrown the college into turmoil," she said.

    The 280-page complaint, which was filed with both the ACCJC and  the U.S. Department of Education, argues that there are no fair procedures  for appealing sanctions from the commission and that the commission does not  allow adequate time for schools to respond to the sanctions.

    The complaint also states that commission president Barbara Beno  placed her husband Peter Crabtree on the team that evaluated CCSF, among  other conflicts of interest.

    The complaint concludes by asking for CCSF to be taken off of  "show cause" status, among other recommendations.

    CFT president Joshua Pechthalt said the complaint is the only  means to challenge the commission, saying it has a lack of oversight and  transparency and intimidates community college districts around the state.

    "There's a climate of fear and intimidation throughout the  community college system," Pechthalt said. "People are afraid to speak up and  raise concerns about the behavior of this accrediting commission because they  could incur the wrath of the commission and lead to further sanctions."