Students rally against class cuts at CCSF

November 18, 2009 5:35:40 PM PST
Students, faculty and staff at City College of San Francisco participated in a lunchtime rally today, protesting ongoing cuts to classes, including major reductions in summer school classes.

Administrators and organizers estimated about 200 people turned out for the noon rally at Conlan Hall at the Ocean Beach campus.

Andres Ruiz, a 20-year-old student who lives in the Outer Sunset neighborhood, helped organize today's events and said the rally was a success.

"We got a lot of people who weren't aware of what's going on, and weren't aware of the actions on campus get involved," he said.

In October, a collection of students came together, with help from some faculty and staff, to form the General Assembly, a group dedicated to protesting ongoing cuts to the college's budget, Ruiz said. The group organized the rally, and Ruiz said it plans to take its concerns about school funding priorities to lawmakers in Sacramento.

Reduced state funding has forced the community college to cut classes in the fall and spring semesters. The school cut 270 classes this semester, according to Martha Lucey, the school's dean of public information.

CCSF planned to cut 500 classes for the spring semester, but several fundraising efforts, including private donations, will help reinstate some classes, she said.

Organizers said today's rally was spurred in part by the latest news that 85 percent of summer classes are being eliminated. According to Lucey, the school must keep some courses to retain its accreditation. It's not yet clear exactly how many will be lost, she said.

Lucey said she attended the rally, and that administrators are supportive of the students' efforts.

"We hear them, we understand their concerns," she said. Reductions in classes create difficulties for students trying to accumulate enough credits to transfer to four-year institutions, she said.

Today's rally was planned to coincide with walkouts and protests happening at the University of California at Berkeley and other UC campuses across the state, Ruiz said.

Lucey encouraged students to monitor online course listings for word of any classes being reinstated for the spring semester.

The school held a garage sale that generated enough money to save two classes, she said. Businesses and individuals have offered donations toward saving additional courses, she said.

The school estimates each class costs $6,000. Some contributions were made to saving classes in general, while others gave money they earmarked for particular departments, she said.

It's not yet clear which classes will be saved, but Lucey said the school hopes to finalize those details shortly so students can register for the spring semester.

Courses funded by donations will appear in the online listing, she said, "with a note saying they have been reinstated thanks to the generosity of a donor."


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