(ACCJC), 10 Commercial Blvd., Suite 204, Novato, CA 94949; 415-506-0234
At its meeting last year, June 5-7, 2013, the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) took action to terminate the accreditation of City College of San Francisco (CCSF)based on the institution’s failure to meet many of the Commission's accreditation standards. The decision to terminate CCSF’s accreditation was not in reaction to a single issue or to problems that occurred over a short period of time. Instead, the decision was made due to years of inaction by CCSF to address serious deficiencies identified through peer reviews and acknowledged by the college. These deficiencies, spanning across all areas of the Accreditation Standards, severely impacted academic quality and the operational sustainability of the college. Since the termination decision, CCSF leaders have taken the need to implement changes at the institution seriously and have begun the work to address deficiencies identified by ACCJC. The leaders of CCSF have acknowledged, however, that the institution is at least 18 months from being in compliance with ACCJC standards.
As the July 31,2014, effective date of termination quickly approaches, there havebeen increased calls for the Commission to rescind its decision. However, the Commission has been, and will continue to be, steadfast in its decision, which was clearly warranted. While ACCJC concern about CCSF noncompliance remains, the Commission also recognizes the need to balance the impact of such a decision on students with its commitment to holding CCSF and all postsecondary institutions accountable in meeting core standards. In response to this need, the Commission has worked to identify a path forward that maintains the termination decision and holds the college accountable for addressing the standards, but would enable the college reasonable but limited additionaltime to come into compliance with ACCJC standards.
Today, ACCJC is proposing a new accreditation policy. The policy generally would permit any postsecondary institution that hasbeen notified of termination for failure to meet ACCJC standards to apply, prior to the effective date of termination, for restoration of its accreditation. The proposed policy language, attached, has been posted to ACCJC’s website, allowing for a two-week public comment period, which will conclude on June 25, 2014, at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time. ACCJC will carefully review all public comments and issue a final policy soon after the two-week comment period has concluded. Final approval is also contingent upon written confirmation from the U.S. Department of Education that the proposed policy is not in conflict with federal regulation or law. Recent communications with U.S. Department of Education officials have been constructive and productive; the language of the policy and its application to CCSF have been vetted, and the ACCJC is optimistic that such a letter will be provided. Under the proposed policy, the institution seeking "accreditation restoration" status would first have to be determined eligible and then undergo an intensive review to demonstrate its ability to come into compliance with all standards within a two-year period. Then, if approved for restoration, the institution would have no more than two years to show full compliance with all standards. If after this period the institution has not met all accreditation standards –or if restoration status is not approved to begin with --the prior termination order would be activated without any opportunity for an appeal.
If this policy is adopted as expected, CCSF would have the opportunity to take steps to be designated as being inrestoration status. Its application for the status would need to be filed prior to the termination effective date of July 31, 2014, and, if the eligibility report demonstrates all eligibility requirements are met, the initial comprehensive evaluation would be conducted no later than four months following that application. On receipt of the college’s request for restoration status, the date of termination would be deferred during the review and (if granted) restoration status. In restoration status, CCSF would have two years to show full compliance with all standards. Other institutions in comparable circumstances would have a similar opportunity under the new policy. Additional Information can be found on the ACCJC website at www.accjc.org: Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACCJC) Policy on Commission Actions on Institutions (Approved for First Reading, June 2014; Excerpt- changed section)V.
Actions that Terminate Accreditation
If, in the judgment of the Commission, an institution has not satisfactorily explained or corrected matters of which it has been given notice, has not addressed deficiencies within the period specified by the Commission,or has taken an action that has placed it significantly out of compliance with the Eligibility Requirements, Accreditation Standards, and Commission policies, its accreditation may be terminated. The Commission will give the institution written reasons for its decision. Termination of accreditation is subject to a request for review and appeal under the applicable policies and procedures of the Commission. The accredited status of the institution continues pending completion of any review and appeal process the institution may request. Otherwise, the institution's accreditation ends on the date when the time period permitting such a request expires. Restoration Status. Prior to the termination effective date or completion of any requested review and appeal process, whichever is later, the institution may submit a request for granting of restoration status. If, however, an institution has been granted a good cause extension to come into compliance with any standard prior to the termination action, the institution may not apply for restoration status following termination. The request for granting of restoration status must be accompanied by a completed eligibility report, demonstrating compliance with the Eligibility Requirements. Upon receipt of the institution’s request, the Commission shall schedule a comprehensive evaluation of the institution no later than four months following the request. The institution must submit an institutional self evaluation report no later than six weeks prior to the scheduled visit. For the period leading to completion of the comprehensive evaluation for restoration status, the termination effective date will be rescinded and the termination implementation will be suspended. The institution’s accredited status will be “accredited, pending termination.”The comprehensive evaluation for restoration status will determine if the institution meets all of the Eligibility Requirements and has demonstrated either its compliance with all of the Accreditation Standards and Commission policies or the ability to meet them within the two-year