California Community College Chancellor Brice Harris and his advisory panel, known as the Consultation Council, are expected this week to discuss membership and the charge of the newly reestablished Task Force on Accreditation. The Council asked Harris to reconvene the Task Force to examine why so many community colleges are facing sanctions from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC).
The ACCJC has placed sanctions on nearly 30 community colleges. Three of them, the College of the Redwoods in Eureka, Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo and San Francisco City College, are on “show cause,” the most severe sanction, which could lead to a loss of accreditation. Last week, Bob Agrella, the special trustee appointed to oversee San Francisco City College, told the Community College Board of Governors that CCSF will fall short of the March 15 deadline to implement an improvement plan critical to saving its accreditation. Agrella said there’s not enough time to put in place all the required structural changes in governance.
Agrella was appointed in October, the same month that the college had to submit its improvement plan to the accrediting commission. He said another sticking point surrounds negotiations with the faculty union over another salary cut.
“I told the Board of Governors that while we certainly will meet the timeline of March 15 in having the report, we would not be able to complete all the items that need to be completed for the accreditation agency,” explained Agrella during a phone call.
The ACCJC placed City College on show cause last July, for fiscal mismanagement, lax accountability and a contorted governance structure. Agrella said the March 15 report would show that the college is making significant progress and is on a timeline to complete everything that’s required “within a reasonable time.”
Then it’s up to the ACCJC to decide whether to extend show cause, put City College on probation or revoke its accreditation. Commission President Barbara Beno couldn’t be reached for comment, but in an October interview she told EdSource Today that CCSF must have implemented the plan by March. “Those verb tenses are important,” said Beno. “An accredited college meets standards; it’s not trying, it’s not in the process, it meets standards.”