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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  1. aj 8 years ago8 years ago

    Below is full quotation of ACCJC directive to destroy records: Statement on the Process for Preserving Confidentiality of Documents Related to lnstitutional Evaluations (Adopted June 2013) Commissioners, ACCJC committee members, and members of evaluation teams, in the course of reviewing institutions, may be given copies of confidential documents pertaining to ACCJC's business and to the institutions under review. Confidential documents include, but are not be limited to, personal notes by the Commissioners, team and committee … Read More

    Below is full quotation of ACCJC directive to destroy records:

    Statement on the Process for Preserving Confidentiality of Documents Related to lnstitutional Evaluations (Adopted June 2013)

    Commissioners, ACCJC committee members, and members of evaluation teams, in the course of reviewing institutions, may be given copies of confidential documents pertaining to ACCJC’s business and to the institutions under review. Confidential documents include, but
    are not be limited to, personal notes by the Commissioners, team and committee members, institutional self-evaluations, team reports, committee reports, institutional audits, letters or memos to or from ACCJC affecting the institution, draft action letters, evidentiary documents provided by an institution, and any documents containing information that would generally be considered proprietary by the institution.

    Commissioners, team and committee members should consider all documents pertaining to an institution as highly confidential, unless the documents are explicitly identified in writing to the contrary. Accordingly, Commissioners, team and committee members must take
    reasonable measures to assure the confidentiality of documents in their possession and may only discuss the contents of such documents with anyone required to have the information in connection with the matter under review.

    At such time as continued possession of such documents is no longer necessary, Commissioners, team and committee members who are in possession of such documents will be expected either to return them to ACCJC’s President (or to the President’s designee) or destroy them by having them shredded. Commissioners, team and committee members are
    not permitted to physically or electronically store or retain such documents in their possession following their usage for the relevant institutional review. At the adjournment of Commission, team, and committee meetings, the responsible ACCJC staff representative may
    ask that some or all of the documents pertaining to the institution be returned to the ACCJC office by delivering them to the staff person.