Letter to the editor: Accreditation process should be fair

Adam Bessie, DVC English professor

Thank you for covering the debate over the Faculty Senate resolution on the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges decision to close City College of San Francisco, potentially displacing 80,000 students.

The resolution was not just about standing in solidarity with the students, faculty and staff of CCSF, but more broadly, was a call to ensure a fair and robust accreditation process, which is critical to ensuring an excellent education for students.  We need a great accreditation process;  yet, given the severity of the sanction on CCSF, and other colleges, many prominent education organizations and politicians have expressed concern over the recent actions by the ACCJC.

Even the Department of Education – which oversees the ACCJC – found the ACCJC out of compliance in several areas. Right now, the closure has been stopped by a judge to find out if it has a legal foundation. The resolution – which I did not author, and was passed in a similar form by four other local community colleges – brought these well-founded concerns to our Faculty Senate.

Through the democratic process, the Faculty Senate decided that the resolution did not have merit.  The English Department was the only department which voted in favor of it, though there were individual faculty in other departments that expressed agreement.

“Winning” was not the primary purpose of this resolution: rather, it was to raise awareness in faculty and student bodies, and create a thoughtful conversation.  To not have this conversation when we are miles away from CCSF, and are accredited by the same agency, would be remiss.  And while the resolution lost on the floor of the Faculty Senate, in terms of creating a civil dialogue on this issue, it was a success.

Now that we have a conversation, I hope The Inquirer continues it, reporting on the accreditation process objectively and thoroughly, as you have thus far.