SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) - A protest over student input in City College of San Francisco’s efforts to stay accredited occupied a college administration building Thursday in an effort by protesters to speak to the school’s chancellor and a small group remains there this evening, a college spokesman said.
The protest started with a rally set to begin around 12:30 p.m. at the school’s Ocean campus.
Protesters marched to several of the college’s different locations throughout the city before returning to the Ocean campus where a group of about 50 or 60 protesters entered Conlan Hall and climbed the stairs to interim Chancellor Thelma Scott-Skillman’s office late this afternoon, college spokesman Larry Kamer said.
Scott-Skillman was not on campus and was unavailable to speak with the protesters Thursday, Kamer said.
As of 7:30 p.m., Kamer said that about 15 people remained sitting in a circle in the lobby of the closed building and that campus police were continuing to monitor the protest, which remained peaceful, and had no plans to escort the protesters from the building.
However, one protester who managed to enter Scott-Skillman’s office was escorted from the building Thursday afternoon, Kamer said.
“We’re hoping this disperses quickly. It’s taxing the resources of an overly-taxed institution,” Kamer said. We appreciate their concerns but it does begin to cost money after a while and we hope they bear that in mind.”
Shanell Williams, president of the Associated Student Council at the campus, said there has been “a lack of open communication” between students and the administration, which is imposing cuts to student services and school staff in an effort to fend off the possible closure of the school.
City College is required to file a report by a March 15 deadline set by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, which last July placed the school on “show cause” status.
The report must show that the school is taking significant steps to address problems cited by the commission, including an excessive number of campuses and high non-instructional faculty costs.
If City College fails to show adequate improvement, the school could lose accreditation and close after the commission issues its ruling on June 10.
A special trustee for City College said in January that the school would likely miss the March 15 deadline.
Williams said that in addressing the commission’s concerns, “the administration is making bad decisions that are going to affect our college for the long term.”
She said some of the changes, such as cuts to counseling and other student services, affect working-class students, who make up a majority of the student body.
Williams said the students have been rebuffed by the administration in their request for town hall forums at all City College campuses so more people can comment on the school’s plans.
“We’ve requested this multiple times and they’ve refused to do so,” she said.
(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)