AFT LOCAL 2121 continues the fight to save City College of San Francisco after the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges labeled the college with its most severe accreditation sanction, “show cause.”
Faculty members have spent thousands of hours educating the community about the challenges City College faces. They also worked to pass Prop. 30 and a local parcel tax, Measure A, to restore some of the money slashed in waves of recent budget cuts. Even after the successful passage of both measures in November, Local 2121 must work to convince college administrators and the Board of Trustees that funds must be restored to maintain robust class offerings and employee compensation.
Alisa Messer, president of AFT Local 2121, expresses frustration that so much outreach by faculty appears to have brought the college no closer to agreeing on how best to move forward.
“Yes, it’s true that the college had some problems,” says Messer, “but we’ve shown such good faith in trying to solve the problems faced by the college. We have been at the table and been essential in the process of bringing in new revenue.” Still, says Messer, not only students but part-time faculty continue to bear the brunt of the financial troubles.
Whether the financial struggles and accreditation problems are directly related to the historically strong support of part-time faculty at City College has been a topic of much discussion. Some have alleged that the significant progress in increasing the number of full-time positions at City College, closing the gap between numbers of part-time and full-time
faculty, and offering attractive pro rata pay, office hour compensation, and health benefits to its part-time faculty put the college on the radar screen of those who want to see community colleges downsized and even “corporatized.” They oppose any weakening of the collective bargaining agreement, especially as it supports part-timers.
Still, faculty, students and community members are committed to defending their beloved college. Says part-time business instructor Hugo Aparicio: “We at the local union are working to implement what was promised to San Franciscans, and that was to restore the classes that were closed in recent semesters.”