Critics Call For More Oversight Of California Accreditation Panel

Career College Central summary:

  • Critics have called the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges tyrannical, vindictive and out of control. The catalyst was the agency's move last summer to withdraw accreditation from City College of San Francisco. What is typically a sober administrative process thrust the Novato, Calif.-based panel into the middle of a national debate over whether agencies that are intended to hold colleges and universities to high standards themselves need more oversight.
  • The accrediting panel has handed out a huge number of sanctions — far more than other regional agencies in the rest of the country. An agency evaluation team found that City College, which enrolls more than 80,000 students, had not done enough to balance its budget to meet the campuses' financial obligations. The school also was found to be deficient in its administration, staffing and facility repairs, among other things.
  • Supporters of the college have mounted a counterattack, alleging that the commission's decision, which could take effect in July, was tainted by conflicts of interest and political bias. The agency's detractors also contend that it lacks transparency, is arbitrary and has been overly aggressive in sanctioning many of the state's 112 two-year schools.
  • College advocates gained the ear of state lawmakers who authorized an audit examining the practices of the accrediting panel. In addition, three lawsuits are pending by faculty unions and San Francisco City Atty. Dennis Herrera, whose civil action alleges that the commission acted to withdraw accreditation "in retaliation for City College having embraced and advocated a different vision for California's community colleges than the ACCJC itself."

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