City College scored a big victory today when a San Francisco judge said the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges could not terminate the college's accreditation amid litigation.
Judge Curtis E.A. Karnow's ruling came down this afternoon, saying the ACCJC is barred from finalizing its planned termination of City College's accreditation in July while the case wends its way through the court system. In other words, school is won't be out until the civil case is decided in court.
City Attorney Dennis Herrera in August sued the ACCJC, claiming the private accrediting body is politically bias, engages in improper procedures, and has conflicts of interest -- all of which "unlawfully influence its evaluation of the state's largest community college."
"I'm grateful to the court for acknowledging what accreditors have so far refused to: that the educational aspirations of tens of thousands of City College students matter," Herrera said in a statement released this afternoon. "Given the ACCJC's dubious evaluation process, it makes no sense for us to race the clock to accommodate ACCJC's equally dubious deadline to terminate City College's accreditation."
Last year, the ACCJC voted to terminate the college's accreditation in July 2014, saying it's maintained a failing grade when it comes to academic programming and fiscal management. The news shook the education community, sparking protests and Herrera's lawsuit, which offers extensive evidence that ACCJC has double standards when evaluating City College compared to six other similarly situated California colleges during the preceding five years.
Not one of those colleges saw its accreditation terminated, the lawsuit states.
The in November, the City Attorney's Office filed a motion for an injunction, blaming the ACCJC for "procedural foot-dragging and delay tactics," which including months-long refusals to honor discovery requests.
In siding with Herrera, Judge Karnow's ruling noted that a July 2014 termination would be "catastrophic" to San Francisco.
"Without accreditation the College would almost certainly close and about 80,000 students would either lose their educational opportunities or hope to transfer elsewhere; and for many of them, the transfer option is not realistic. The impact on the teachers, faculty, and the City would be incalculable, in both senses of the term: The impact cannot be calculated, and it would be extreme," Karnow wrote.