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US Dept of Education Censures Accreditation Agency
That Threatens to Close SF City College.

Adapted from Save CCSF Coalition Press Release, August 14, 2013

The US Department of Education’s (DOE) accreditation group has found the Accreditation Commission of Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) out of compliance with several criteria necessary for recognition by the department as an accrediting institution, according to a letter sent to the ACCJC by the department’s office of postsecondary education. “This announcement clearly demonstrates the illegitimacy of the ACCJC and its attacks on CCSF,” said Wendy Kaufmyn, a CCSF faculty members and a member of the Save CCSF coalition.

(The full text of the DOE’s letter to the ACCJC can be found here:  )

Demonstration: Ed Lee Stop Attacking City College, Defend it!
Tuesday, August 20, 4 PM, SF City Hall
More info at

According to the DOE, the ACCJC must take immediate steps to bring itself into compliance or it could have its recognition by the Department limited, suspended or terminated. The letter comes in response to a complaint filed with the department by the California Federation of Teachers in April.

For many months, the members of the Save CCSF coalition have insisted that the real cause of the current crisis at City College is the Accreditation Commission itself. Students, faculty, and staff in the Save CCSF coalition welcome this announcement by the DOE and call for the immediate reversal of the ACCJC’s sanction against CCSF, as well as the cuts to classes, services, and benefits brought about by the attacks of the ACCJC.

Students from CCSF will hold a rally at San Francisco City Hall on Aug. 20 at 4 p.m. to demand that Mayor Ed Lee — who up to the present has accepted the legitimacy of the ACCJC and its impositions — take a stand against the ACCJC and call for the immediate dropping of all sanctions against CCSF. “The Mayor needs to side with CCSF, not the corrupt and out-of-control ACCJC,” said Lalo Gonzalez, a CCSF student. The struggle at City College is part of the larger movement to defend public education against the nationwide offensive of privatization and austerity.

Among the issues addressed in the DOE’s letter:

1) The ACCJC failed to demonstrate adequate representation of academic personnel on evaluation teams as required by the Secretary’s Criteria for recognition. In addition, the ACCJC does not state in any materials that agency staff could or would serve on an evaluation team; however an ACCJC staff member was part of the team for the April 2013 evaluation of CCSF.

2) The participation of the spouse of the president of the ACCJC (Barbara Beno) on an evaluation team has the appearance to the public of creating a conflict of interest. Therefore, the ACCJC is in violation of Section 602.15 (a)(6) which requires clear and effective controls against conflicts of interest, and the appearance of conflicts of interest.

3)  The ACCJC failed to clearly differentiate between the two types of recommendations – “to meet the standard” or “to increase institutional effectiveness” – and how an institution, an evaluation team, the Commission, or the public is to know the difference. This lack of clear identification impacts the agency’s ability to provide institutions with adequate due process.

The ACCJC’s recognition by the Department of Education is up for renewal later this year, and the department will review additional complaints against the commission at that time, along with a review of their compliance with all areas of the secretary of education’s criteria for recognition as an accrediting agency.

The ACCJC made the decision to revoke CCSF’s accreditation in July 2014. For the 2013-2014 school year, however, CCSF remains open and accredited. All courses taken this next school year will count, and degrees, certificates, and transferable units continue to be valid. Inspired by this victory, supporters of City College will continue to mobilize until all sanctions have been dropped against CCSF and all cuts have been reversed.

More info can be found at

Listen to KPFA News coverage of DOE’s letter censuring the Accreditation Agency:


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