San Francisco, CA – The fight to keep City College of San Francisco open continued today in a local courtroom where attorneys argued that the practices a
regional commission used in deciding to revoke the school’s accreditation do not amount to proper due process.
San Francisco Superior Court Judge Curtis Karnow this morning began hearing arguments on separate lawsuits filed by City Attorney Dennis Herrera and two teachers’ unions that are seeking preliminary injunctions to block the revocation.
The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges earlier this year issued an order revoking the school’s accreditation effective July 31, 2014.
Robert Bezemek, an attorney representing the California Federation of Teachers and the City College teachers’ union, American Federation of Teachers Local 2121, told the judge this morning that the accrediting panel acted unlawfully in its decision-making process.
“The due process provided by this commission is abysmal,” Bezemek said.
He said “a significant violation” occurred when a commission staff report found 19 deficiencies with the school and the commission then upped that number to 30 at a June meeting without notifying City College of the additional deficiencies.
Bezemek also cited other problems, including an alleged conflict of interest in allowing commission president Barbara Beno to appoint her husband to the team that evaluated City College.
He said the commission is secretive and that its decision has caused students at City College to leave in droves out of fear that the school may close, with enrollment down by as much as 30 percent since last spring.
“There’s something wrong here,” he said. “They need to be held accountable.
Attorneys for the commission are responding to the attorney’s allegations this afternoon.
Earlier today, commission attorney Philip Ward told the judge that the lawsuits are full of “innuendo” and “conspiracy.”
Ward said the school had serious financial and administrative problems “that render it unfit to fulfill its educational duties.”
Arguments are expected to wrap up by the end of the day. If granted, the injunction would remain in place until a trial can be held in the case.
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