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Friday, January 16, 2015

Judge Gives City College a Second Chance

Posted By on Fri, Jan 16, 2015 at 5:38 PM

click to enlarge MICHAEL BARBA
  • Michael Barba
City College can finally breath again after a San Francisco Superior Court judge's tentative decision Friday gave the beleaguered college a second chance to keep its doors open to students. 

Judge Curtis Karnow bashed the "significant unlawful practices" of the agency that had in 2013 stripped away accreditation from the college, which serves 80,000 students. 

Instead, the courts paved the way for the college to seek new accreditation options — and City College intends to take those steps, Chancellor Art Tyler said after the judge handed down his ruling.

City College will continue to offer up proof that it's progressing and meeting the accreditation standards set by the Accrediting Commission of Community and Junior Colleges — the agency that almost shut them down. Alongside the evidence, the school will ask the ACCJC to reconsider its decision to close its doors. 

"Nothing about our case should distract or delay City College from doing all it can to solve problems that potentially threaten its existence," said San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, who challenged the ACCJC in its effort to close down City College. 

According to Herrera, the judge's tentative decision further validated the City Attorney's move for an injunction which seeks to halt any termination of City Colleges accreditation. The judge said the injunction was legit based on Unfair Competition Law that points to "unlawful practices" of the ACCJC.

"This should serve as a loud, unequivocal wake-up call to accreditors," said Herrera. "That they are subject to laws and will face consequences for breaking them."

Apparently, the ACCJC violated the "common law fair procedure" — a doctrine that requires basic due process — when it decided to terminate City College's accreditation back in 2013, according to court documents. The accreditation agency should have provided City College the opportunity to respond to accusations of deficiencies before it made the final decision to close the school, Karnow said.

"This is a wonderful and outstanding day for City College," said Herrera. "We're extremely gratified by the thoughtful approach that judge Karnow went by in terms of reaching his statement and decision."

The City Attorney is now set to propose a new injunction for Karnow to review that will provide City College a chance to respond to the ACCJC's termination decision, and the commission an opportunity to rescind or reaffirm the 2013 termination, Karnow said.

"City College's future is in City College's hands," said Herrera. Now let's see what it does with it.
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