The accrediting agency that ordered City College of San Francisco closed is facing a second lawsuit in as many months.
The California Federation of Teachers and its parent union, the America Federation of Teachers, filed suit Monday in San Francisco Superior Court to keep the community college open.
The suit alleges that the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior College (ACCJC), violated state and federal conflict of interest laws; prevented students, faculty and journalists from attending the commission’s public meetings; destroyed documents; and circumvented its own regulations.
At a news conference on the steps of San Francisco City Hall, Alisa Messer, an English instructor at City College San Francisco and president of the faculty union, AFT Local 2121, said, “The decisions made and processes used by the ACCJC were flawed, not just at CCSF but in numerous other cases as well. Their sanctions have destabilized our college, our community and the education of more than 80,000 students.”
In July, a year after placing City College on “show cause,” the most severe sanction short of being shut down, the commission ruled that it would revoke City College’s accreditation in July 2014 unless the school gets it finances in shape and corrects its problems with governance, leadership and evaluation of courses.
In the weeks leading up to the commission’s decision, the college faculty union filed a nearly 300 page complaint with the U.S. Department of Education alleging, among other charges, a conflict of interest because the ACCJC president Barbara Beno’s husband was on the City College evaluation team. Although the commission has rejected the charges, federal education officials sent a letter to Beno in August threatening to “limit, suspend or terminate” the commission’s federal recognition for being out of compliance with federal regulations.
The union’s suit comes a month after San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera sued the accrediting commission to block efforts to close City College.
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