Filipino students worry over fate of City College of San Francisco

By Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

July 5, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO – Students at City College of San Francisco knew their school had been under review by the Accrediting Commission of Community and Junior College since last year. But they never expected it to lose its accreditation so soon, effective July 31, 2014.

This decision by the accrediting commission last Wednesday could cause the school to shut down because the state will no longer be able to fund it, if it stays unaccredited.

This impacts many immigrant students. At least half of the school’s 85,000 students are immigrants and 40% of the classes at City College of San Francisco are English classes for foreigners.

In its main campus alone, 4,000 of 35,000 students are Filipino, the largest population of Filipino students in any school outside the Philippines.

“I really feel bad because I just started school here. I have to stay here for two more years here, before I transfer to a four-year university. But now, I have to figure out where to move,” said 18-year old Nikki Francisco.

“Going to a community college is a really useful for a lot of people and the fact that the school’s closing, leaves a lot of people without choice,” pointed out 19-year old Ryan Fortu.

The accrediting commission also stripped the school’s elected Board of Trustees of its decision-making powers. The commission gave city college eight months to fix its problems with governance and fiscal planning. The trustees said the school has done its part to save money, reorganized staffing, even cut pay.

“An enemy gives you the terms of surrender. You meet the terms of surrender and they still execute you,” Rodel Rodis, former president of the San Francisco City College Board of Trustees said, describing how the accrediting commission went ahead with their decision to take away the school’s accreditation.

Rodis, the only Filipino to be elected in the school’s Board of Trustees, said the City College of San Francisco was targeted from the beginning by the accrediting commission, which he said does not understand the needs of the community.

City College Interim Chancellor Thelma Scott-Skillman has said the school will be filing a request for review of the commission’s decision.

“We expect that we’re going to have the support of the state. We expect that we will get the support of the U.S. Department of Education, when they understand the gravity of what was done and how unfair it was,” Rodis said.

Rodis said the offiicials needs to act now and reverse the decision of the accrediting commission immediately so students are no longer demoralized in their pursuit of higher education in this country.

You may contact Henni Espinosa at henni_espinosa@abs-cbn.com for more information

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