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California Community College Board of Governors to Consider New Accreditation Rules

SACRAMENTO — Last week the Consultation Council of the Board of Governors (BOG), an advisory body to the state community college system of California, recommended that the BOG, at its regularly scheduled meeting in November, take up consideration of removing the monopoly status of the Accreditation Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) in its role as the accrediting agency for California community colleges.

The Consultation Council is chaired by the state chancellor and meets monthly to review and evaluate new policy proposals. This will be the first time that the Board of Governors, which oversees California's 72 districts and 112 colleges, will hold a formal discussion of this major regulatory change.

The proposed change to California Code Regs., Title 5, Section 51016, would remove reference to the ACCJC as the sole accreditor. Instead it will say, “Accreditation shall be determined only by an accrediting agency recommended by the Chancellor and approved by the Board of Governors. The Board of Governors shall approve only a regional accreditor recognized and approved by the U.S. Secretary of Education under the Higher Education Act of 1965 acting within the agency’s scope of recognition by the Secretary.”

Comments California Federation of Teachers (CFT) president Joshua Pechthalt, “The ACCJC’s unfair and unlawful practices need reining in. It is good news that the BOG is willing to consider this necessary change to open up the system to other qualified accreditors.”

A letter was sent last week from President Pechthalt to Community College Chancellor Brice Harris regarding this change in the California code. The CFT first suggested this new policy a year and a half ago, after the ACCJC threatened to disaccredit City College of San Francisco.

The Chancellor has also committed to bringing to the November meeting a proposal for the return to democratic governance of the CCSF Board of Trustees.

Tim Killikelly, the president of AFT 2121, the faculty union at CCSF, said, “The time has come to return democracy back to the voters of San Francisco. This election in November when four seats on the City College of San Francisco Board of Trustees are on the ballot needs to be respected. Return their power and let them do the job they were elected to do.”

The move to strip the ACCJC of its monopoly power comes on the eve of the trial in San Francisco Superior Court, set to begin October 27, in which Judge Curtis Karnow will hear San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera's lawsuit against the agency. The suit seeks to reverse the ACCJCs flawed disaccreditation of City College of San Francisco. The judge has thrown out six separate motions for dismissal by the ACCJC over the past year. His injunction is keeping CCSF open pending the outcome of the trial.

The CFT represents more than 25,000 faculty in 30 community colleges districts, and 120,000 educational employees at every level of the education system, from Head Start to UC. More information: