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Future plans for Southeast Campus remain cloudy

May 4, 2017

by Jordi Molina

The Southeast Campus is easily accessible to Bayview Hunters Point residents, but some bureaucrats prefer the Evans Avenue location because, being on the edge of the neighborhood, it would attract non-Black students who live elsewhere and are afraid to venture further into a neighborhood that, despite intense gentrification, is still largely Black.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) has had its eye on the City College Southeast Campus for quite some time and has stressed that they will take into account the needs of the surrounding community, Bayview Hunters Point. However, it now appears that the SFPUC has not been open about what plans they have for the Southeast Campus.

For years SFPUC has expressed a desire to relocate the Southeast Campus to Evans Campus while renovating and turning the Southeast Campus into their administrative building. SFPUC has been open in the past regarding their aforementioned plans, though they have appeared to be stagnant for quite some time due to negative responses from the community and neighborhood.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) has had its eye on the City College Southeast Campus for quite some time and has stressed that they will take into account the needs of the surrounding community, Bayview Hunters Point.

The Southeast Campus has served many within the Bayview community by providing very important programs and services which have resulted in increased enrollment at the campus and higher levels of education. It has been a great service to the community; however, moving it to the Evans Campus will remove programs and classes which affect the everyday lives of the surrounding Bayview community.

The interior of Southeast Campus is beautiful, the pride of the community.

A year ago, SFPUC said that it would take into account the community’s thoughts and opinions regarding the Southeast Campus takeover. It has been some time and there has yet to be a public meeting on whether they will still be taking over the Southeast Campus. Many people who work within the Southeast Campus and live in the neighborhood have not heard from SFPUC for a while on their plans.

Southeast Campus Librarian Karen Chan, who has worked there for eight years, is one of many people who has not heard any recent updates about SFPUC’s plans. “I think first of all they have to understand the needs of the neighborhood. SFPUC does not take community input,” Chan said.

A year ago, SFPUC said that it would take into account the community’s thoughts and opinions regarding the Southeast Campus takeover. It has been some time and there has yet to be a public meeting on whether they will still be taking over the Southeast Campus.

The editor of the San Francisco Bay View newspaper, Mary Ratcliff, has been active within the Bay View community and has much criticism about SFPUC’s proposed takeover of the Southeast Campus.

Ratcliff said, “They have always had their eyes on that building, and this is an ongoing battle by SFPUC against City College.”

Ratcliff also mentioned that they tend not to stick to what they say they are going to do. During the funeral of Dr. Espanola Jackson, a longtime Bayview activist and important figure in the community as a whole, SFPUC General Manager Harlan Kelly told the large congregation that SFPUC will honor Dr. Jackson’s strong desire to keep Southeast Campus where it is and that they will help the community, yet there has been no action or further mention of these promises.

“It’s a long lasting battle, but it doesn’t appear we will win,” Ratcliff said. SFPUC has not put out any plans or responded to our attempts to reach them. The fate of the 1800 Oakdale building known as the Southeast Campus remains uncertain.

Jordi Molina, a student at City College, can be reached at jordirmolina@yahoo.com. This story originally appeared in The Guardsman, the City College student newspaper, and is reprinted with permission.

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