“Earlier this month, the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges announced its decision to revoke the accreditation of the City College of San Francisco (CCSF) effective July 2014. After a more than a week of vocal protests from faculty unions and advocacy groups, the Chancellor of the California Community Colleges, Brice Harris, upheld the commission’s decision, stating that the college must address the problems identified in its review within a year. Without accreditation, a public college cannot receive state or federal funding and would almost certainly have to close its doors.
While the ACCJC’s decision could have a devastating effect on this urban college, it also has troubling implications for the future of public higher education. Unlike many other colleges and universities, CCSF has maintained a strong commitment to democratic egalitarian values. The college dedicates many of its resources to educating non-traditional students, has a strong faculty governance system, and offers good working conditions to part-time faculty. The ACCJC’s review in effect targets these egalitarian practices, pushing the college to enact neoliberal reforms. Such “reforms” have already been enacted on most college campuses. They typically result in an administration-heavy structure, where low-paid instructors struggle to meet students’ needs.”