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August 15,  2013     Thelma  Scott-­‐Skillman   Interim  Chancellor   City  College  of  San  Francisco   Conlan  Hall     50  Phelan  Street   San  Francisco,  CA  94112     Robert  Agrella   Special  Trustee   City  College  of  San  Francisco   50  Phelan  Street   San  Francisco,  CA  94112       Re:    Requests  of  the  AFT  2121  and  CFT  for  a  review  of  Disaccreditation     Dear  Drs.  Scott-­‐Skillman  and  Agrella:     I  write  on  behalf  of  the  American  Federation  of  Teachers  local  2121  and  the  California  Federation  of   Teachers.  Neither  of  your  offices  has  contacted  us  in  regard  to  the  contents  of  the  District’s  request  for   a  review  of  the  disaccreditation  decision  of  the  Accrediting  Commission  for  Community  and  Junior   Colleges  (ACCJC).  We  are  surprised  by  this  occurrence  because  we  have  already  filed  a  lengthy   complaint  against  the  ACCJC,  and  have  information  concerning  the  actions  of  the  Commission,  which  is   relevant  to  the  College’s  request  for  review.  In  particular,  we  received  on  August  13,  2013  the  results   of  the  United  States  Department  of  Education’s  (US  DoE)  review  of  the  Complaint.  The  US  DoE  found   that  the  2012  review  by  ACCJC,  which  led  to  Show  Cause  status  and  subsequently  disaccreditation  was   fatally  flawed.     The  evaluation  team,  which  the  ACCJC  staff  –  headed  by  President  Beno  –  appointed  for  City  College  of   San  Francisco  in  2012  was  invalidly  constituted.  This  is  because  Ms.  Beno’s  husband  was  placed  on  the   team.  The  US  DoE  agreed  this  was  a  conflict  of  interest,  which  violated  Federal  regulations  34  CFR   section  602.15(a)(6).  The  conclusion  that  the  Commission  does  not  meet  the  Secretary’s  criteria  means   the  team’s  evaluation  was  prejudiced  by  her  husband’s  involvement  in  the  assessment  of  CCSF  and   consequently  the  Evaluation  Team  Report  should  be  considered  null  and  void.  There  was  no  valid  team   evaluation  for  the  Commission  to  rely  on.  The  Commission’s  decision  to  place  CCSF  on  Show  Cause   sanction  is  therefore  itself  null  and  void.     These  violations  go  to  the  legitimacy  of  the  evaluation  team  and  the  subsequent  actions  of  the   Commission.         If  that  conflict  is  not  enough,  the  team  was  also  invalidly  created  because  it  lacked  sufficient  educators.   There  were  only  3  faculty  members  on  the  team  out  of  a  total  of  17  members.  In  appointing  this  team    


without sufficient  faculty  educators,  ACCJC’s  staff,  headed  by  Ms.  Beno,  did  not  comply  with  Federal   law.       And  if  that  wasn’t  enough,  the  team  and  the  Commission  both  erred  in  penalizing  CCSF  because  the   ACCJC  had  not  clearly  informed  CCSF  prior  to  July  2012  that  it  had  deficiencies.  This  violated  34  CFR   section  602.15a  (3).  In  2012,  the  Commission  wrongfully  relied  on  the  existence  of  these  alleged   deficiencies  to  issue  Show  Cause,  and  later  disaccreditation.  Had  CCSF  been  promptly  notified  of   deficiencies,  if  they  existed,  in  2006,  ACCJC  was  duty-­‐bound  to  give  it  two  years  to  correct  them.  ACCJC   did  not  give  this  two-­‐year  notice,  more  proof  there  were  in  fact  no  deficiencies.  The  US  DoE  correctly   found  that  ACCJC  failed  to  give  proper  notice  or  due  process  to  CCSF.     The  ACCJC’s  violations,  confirmed  by  the  DoE,  mandate  that  accreditation  be  fully  restored,  and  that   the  sanctions  of  Show  Cause  and  Disaccreditation  be  rescinded.       Accordingly,  we  write  to  ask  that  the  Chancellor,  the  College,  and  the  Special  Trustee  present  the   entire  CFT  complaint  of  April  30th,  and  the  follow-­‐up  complaints,  as  part  of  its  request  for  review,  as   well  as  the  US  DoE  letter  of  August  13,  2013.       We  also  request  that  CCSF’s  reasons  for  review  include  the  following  grounds:     1.  Errors  or  omissions  in  carrying  out  prescribed  procedures  on  the  part  of  the  evaluation  team  and/or   Commission  which  materially  affected  the  Commission’s  decision,  including  but  not  limited  to  the   following;     § § §

§

There was  no  basis  for  Show  Cause,  as  demonstrated  by  the  CFT’s  Complaints  to  the  ACCJC   and  DOE,  and  the  USDE  letter.   Show  Cause  was  invalid  because  of  the  violations  set  forth  in  the  Complaint  and  those   found  valid  in  the  USDE  letter.   The  decision  of  the  USDE,  issued  August  13,  2013,  confirms  that  the  evaluation  teams   created  by  the  Commission  for  the  Show  Cause  review  in  2012,  and  the  subsequent  Show   Cause  review,  were  created  in  violation  of  the  DOE’s  regulations,  and  hence  their  decisions   were  invalid  and  both  Show  Cause  and  Disaccreditation  decisions  must  be  reversed.   As  set  forth  in  the  Complaint,  the  ACCJC’s  actions  in  placing  CCSF  on  Show  Cause  were  in   violation  of  law,  and  there  was  no  basis  for  a  Show  Cause  review  in  2012-­‐2013.  

2. There  was  demonstrable  bias  or  prejudice  on  the  part  of  one  or  more  members  of  the  evaluation   team  or  Commission,  which  materially  affected  the  Commission’s  decision,  including  but  not  limited  to:   § § § §

Insufficient faculty  and  mix  of  educators  on  the  2012  team  and  the  2013  Show  Cause   evaluation  team.   Inclusion  of  Yulian  Liguoso,  a  trustee  of  the  Community  College  League  of  California  (CCLC)   Retiree  Health  Benefits  JPA,  on  the  2012  Show  Cause  team,  due  to  conflict  of  interest.   Inclusion  of  Frank  Gornick  and  Steven  Kinsella  on  the  Commission  due  to  conflict  of  interest   involving  the  CCLC  JPA.   The  Commission  as  a  whole  was  disqualified  from  determining  the  accreditation  of  CCSF        


because of  its  support  of  SB  1456,  in  opposition  to  the  expressed  position  of  CCSF.    This   conflict  of  interest  also  suggests  retaliation  against  CCSF,  and  materially  affected  the   outcome  of  the  ACCJC  review.   3.  The  evidence  before  the  Commission  prior  to  and  on  the  date  when  it  made  the  decision,  which  is   being  appealed,  was  materially  in  error.    This  includes,  but  is  not  limited  to,  the  evidence  of  leadership,   governance,  and  finances  of  CCSF.       4.  The  decision  of  the  Commission  was  not  supported  by  substantial  evidence.       We  ask  that  the  Trustee,  College,  and  State  share  its  proposed  statement  of  reasons  for  review  with  us   in  a  timely  fashion,  so  we  may  have  further  input,  and  include  the  information  set  forth  above.       We  hereby  reserve  the  right  to  initiate  appropriate  legal  or  administrative  actions,  to  challenge  the   disaccreditation  of  CCSF,  and  to  add  to,  modify,  supplement  or  amend  the  grounds  for  such  action.   Moreover,  the  parties  hereto  reserve  the  right  to  raise  grounds  beyond  those  specified  above.     Let  me  close  by  emphasizing  the  importance  of  the  US  DoE’s  findings  to  this  appeal.  ACCJC  cannot  rely   on  evaluation  reports,  which  were  the  result  of  improperly  constituted  teams.  This  alone  is  a  sufficient   basis  for  a  review.  We  are  aware  that  the  College  is  coming  up  against  the  deadline  to  submit  the   reasons  for  review,  and  so  I  look  forward  to  hearing  from  you  immediately  in  regard  to  these  serious   matters.       Sincerely,    

Alisa  Messer,  President,  AFT  Local  2121  

cc:  Josh  Pechthalt,  CFT  President              Jim  Mahler,  CFT  Community  College  Council  President              Robert  Bezemek,  Legal  Counsel                Steve  Bruckman,  Counsel  to  the  Chancellor’s  Office  and  Trustee  

AFT/CFT letter to CCSF admin 9 15 13  

Letter from the AFT and CFT to Special Trustee Robert Agrella and Interim-chancellor Thelma Scott-Skillman on Sept. 15, 2013 regarding the r...

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