City attorney files suit on behalf of SF City College

August 22, 2013 8:05:55 PM PDT
San Francisco City College's fight to keep its accreditation got a boost from San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera. He filed two legal motions. ABC7 News takes a look at the legal battle to keep the school from closing.

Herrera wants the decision rescinded regarding City College's accreditation and he wants the state to take more responsibility.

Herrera filed suit on Thursday in Superior court against the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, the ACCJC, to try to rescind their sanctions against San Francisco City College.

"To enjoin private accreditors from effectively closing a cherished public institution which has been a cornerstone of economic opportunity and educational promise for generations of San Franciscans," said Herrera.

Herrera clams the ACCJC's moves amount to payback for an on-going political disagreement over the mission of the state's community colleges.

His other target is the Board of Governors which oversees all 112 community colleges in California. Herrera says the public board has abandoned its responsibilities and handed them over to the accrediting commission -- what he calls a wholly unaccountable and private entity.

This legal action comes a day after lawmakers in Sacramento voted to audit the ACCJC and after student protests including one in front of the San Francisco mayor's office.

Brian McKeown took part in that and is pleased the city attorney is taking action. He told us, "We needed a leader in this community to step up for City College and to deal with these atrocities and he's done that."

Herrera says he thinks there is still time to save City College, but board trustee John Rizzo is not so sure.

"The timing of the lawsuit, these things take awhile and City College has such a very short time that it really needs to focus on finishing the tasks that the accreditation agency asked for," said Rizzo.

Despite repeated calls, there was no response on Thursday from the ACCJC or the Board of Governors.

However we did get a rather blunt response from the statewide chancellor's office. It said, "?by its own admission, City College did not meet the standards that all 112 community colleges in California have agreed to meet."

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