When the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges put City College of San Francisco on the severest sanction, a lot of legislators didn’t get it, said Tim Killikelly, president of AFT Local 2121, the faculty union there. 

“But Phil Ting got it and he understood and he was there helping to lead the fight for fair accreditation in California,” Killikelly said. “He worked very closely with us to show how the ACCJC failed us with its lack of transparency.”

Receiving the award for Legislator of the Year, Assemblymember Ting referred to the former president of the commission. “Barbara Beno and that commission picked on the wrong college and the wrong state,” he said. “Community college is not just where you go coming out of high school — it’s where you go if you’re 30 and decide you want to go to the culinary academy or if you’re 40 and want to be a coder.”

Assemblymember Kevin McCarty from Sacramento also received the award. Los Rios College Federation of Teachers President Dean Murakami introduced him, saying he had fought for restorative justice, mental health services for students, and debt relief. 

McCarty welcomed CFT members to his hometown and thanked Murakami for pronouncing his name correctly and not as Kevin McCarthy, a Republican congressman from Bakersfield, who, McCarty said, wants to arm educators so they can protect themselves from wolves and grizzly bears. Issues he’s focusing on include expanding early childhood education and making sure students can afford college. 

“This convention is about ‘organize and resist,’” McCarty said. “In California we’ve been doing that a long time.”