pictured above: Barbara Beno, president of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, at the City College of San Francisco trial at San Francisco Superior Court on Oct. 27, 2014
by Nanette Asimov Education Reporter
San Francisco Chronicle
October 28, 2014
The president of the commission trying to revoke accreditation from City College of San Francisco admitted in court Tuesday that she had edited out language in the report favorable to the college and that the college was denied a chance to defend itself as required.
The surprising admissions by commission President Barbara Beno (pictured above) made for dramatic testimony in Day 2 of the trial to determine whether the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges broke the law when evaluating City College in 2012 and 2013 before voting
to revoke its accreditation. The college remains accredited pending the outcome of the trial in San Francisco Superior Court.
The question of whether the commission was unfair in the process that could shut down the college of 79,000 students is a key point in the trial. Lawyers for the city of San Francisco are trying to prove that the commission denied due process to the college and broke the California law barring illegal and unfair business practices. They argue its motives were political because students and faculty members opposed statewide college reforms supported by the commission.
No political agenda
The commission’s lawyers say there was no political agenda, that the college must be held accountable for its financial and governance problems, and that the commission is immune from that state law.
In court, Deputy City Attorney Ronald Flynn asked Beno if, just before the commission voted to revoke accreditation in June 2013, it had identified new deficiencies at the college that it had said were not a problem.
“Yes, it did,” Beno said.
When the new problems were identified, Flynn asked: Did the commission give the college additional time to address them as its policy requires for schools in danger of losing accreditation?
Beno spoke about the process, and Flynn cut her off. “Yes or no?” he asked.
Beno paused for several seconds, then said the commission let City College respond in writing.
Flynn asked if that meant the college had been given “additional time,” as required.
Beno began to read something, and then Judge Curtis Karnow stopped her. “Ma’am, Ma’am,” he said. “It’s a question about what’s happening in the real world.”
Flynn asked again: “Did the commission afford City College additional time to respond?”
“No,” Beno said, shaking her head.
Flynn’s questioning also revealed that a team appointed by the commission to evaluate the college had come to several positive conclusions that were omitted or changed at Beno’s request. Beno is not a voting member of the commission, but was portrayed as a powerful leader able to influence its decisions.
On the stand, Beno acknowledged that the team’s draft report said City College “demonstrated a high level of dedication, passion and enthusiasm to address the issues, and provided evidence of compelling action to address previous findings.”
10/30/14 10:32 AM
Thursday, October 23, is Reclaim Rutgers Day
Sisters and Brothers:
At Rutgers University, more than 20,000 unionized faculty (all AAUP members) and staff are currently in negotiations and working under expired contracts. They have gone at least three years without a raise while the cost of living, particularly health care costs in the state plan, have risen dramatically. Rutgers management is sitting on hundreds of millions in reserves while the hardworking faculty and staff are falling behind. Now management has cancelled the bargaining sessions that were scheduled for this week. We must take action!
If you are in New Jersey, please join in a lunchtime action at 12:30pm this Thursday in support of our union brothers and sisters at Rutgers. Locations listed below; RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you can't come in person, then please take a moment to snap a picture of yourself and as many other union members and supporters as you can find. Please download our Reclaim Rutgers sign at http://www.aaup2.org/ReclaimRutgersrally.pdf and wear your union colors or hold your union banner. Then send your photo to email@example.com to be included with all the other supporters. Please feel welcome to include a solidarity message from your union along with your photo. Selfies from individual members are also encouraged!
That's the action that thousands of us will be taking state-wide and across the country this Thursday in support of the hardworking women and men of Rutgers.
Chair, AAUP Collective Bargaining Congress
Locations for the Oct. 23, 12:30pm-1:30pm Reclaim Rutgers action on each campus and at Rutgers off-campus worksites are:
Busch campus (Piscataway): outside Faculty Dining Center
Camden campus: Campus Center Plaza
College Ave campus (New Brunswick): center of Voorhees Mall
Cook/Douglass campus (New Brunswick): Douglass Center Plaza
Livingston campus (Piscataway): Livingston Student Dining Center Plaza
Newark campus: Paul Robeson Center Plaza
Newark-RBHS: Corner of 12th and Bergen
New Brunswick-RBHS Downtown: 335 George St (Liberty Plaza)
Piscataway-RBHS: 151 Centennial Ave. (UBHS) AND 671 Hoes Lane W (UBHS/RWJMS)
Somerset-RBHS: 1 World's Fair Drive
The AAUP-CBC supports unionization as the most effective means for academic employees to protect shared governance and academic freedom, to uphold professional standards and values, and to promote higher education as an investment in our common future. Visit the AAUP-CBC website.