City College Board of Trustees election offers a positive alternative

City-College-rally-against-consolidating-diversity-studies-programs-111512-by-Shane-Menez-El-Tecolote, City College Board of Trustees election offers <strong>a positive alternative</strong>, Local News & Views
City College students came out strong when the school was attacked. This rally against consolidating diversity studies programs was held Nov. 15, 2012. – Photo: Shane Menez, El Tecolote

by Rick Baum

If you read that a low-cost college was described by its accreditor as providing “high-quality instruction” and “comprehensive and accessible student services,” you would probably expect that college to be on the verge of tremendous growth.

That is how the accrediting agency’s visiting team described City College of San Francisco (CCSF) in 2012. Soon thereafter, that agency would threaten to close the college. Yes, they threatened to close CCSF!

Instead of growing, in the last 10 years, CCSF saw its student population decline by over 60% – going from over 95,000 students to fewer than 38,000. Many vital programs such as ones serving Older Adults and English as a Second Language have been gutted. CCSF’s predominantly working and lower middle-class students of color have seen their educational opportunities severely reduced.

Thousands of classes have been cut. One excuse for doing so is the lower enrollment. However, as the current chancellor has acknowledged, cutting classes results in fewer students. Furthermore, students have been discouraged from enrolling in classes. A user-unfriendly online registration system has been in use during the last 10 years that even retired faculty are unable to navigate through to sign up for classes. Enrollment is also harmed by the decision to no longer print a class schedule and distribute it to peoples’ homes and throughout the city.

Another excuse for cutting classes has been claimed budget deficits. Cuts are made. We are told the budget deficit problem is solved. Soon thereafter, claims are made that there is a new deficit, and more cuts must be made even though that will result in fewer students and the college receiving even less money from the state. 

City-College-Journalism-0814, City College Board of Trustees election offers <strong>a positive alternative</strong>, Local News & Views
City College used to advertise in all of San Francisco’s neighborhood newspapers, including the Bay View. Those ads helped transform dreams into action and exciting careers for many, many of our readers. This is the ad for journalism courses being offered during the 2014 fall semester. In contrast to this hefty list of a dozen courses eight years ago, only five courses are offered this semester, and three of them are taught by Journalism Department head Juan Gonzales.

For the first time since the 10-year crisis at CCSF began, the people of San Francisco have a chance to put in place a Board of Trustees that is devoted to expanding the educational opportunities CCSF offers the community. Anita Martinez, Vick Chung, Susan Solomon, and Adolfo Velasquez – people who have devoted much of their lives to public education – are running for the Board of Trustees in the upcoming election on a platform to increase what CCSF provides the community. Their approach distinguishes them from the current board candidates who are more devoted to approving cuts advocated by an administration which has repeatedly shown little interest in serving the needs and interests of students.

Many in the CCSF community hope you will cast your votes for Anita, Vick, Susan, and Adolfo in the upcoming election. [The Bay View also recommends William Walker.]

Rick Baum teaches at City College and is a member of AFT 2121. He has written articles published by Counterpunch, Monthly Review and New Politics.