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Protesters Arrested At San Francisco City Hall Following CCSF Sit-In

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A protester is arrested at San Francisco City Hall during a sit-in outside the mayor's office, August 21, 2013. (CBS)

A protester is arrested at San Francisco City Hall during a sit-in outside the mayor’s office, August 21, 2013. (CBS)

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – There were about two dozen arrests early Wednesday morning at San Francisco City Hall, following a sit-in at the entrance of Mayor Ed Lee’s office by supporters of City College of San Francisco.

The demonstrators offered no physical resistance as they were arrested one-by-one inside City Hall.

They wanted a face-to-face meeting with Mayor Lee to present their demands for the future of CCSF.

“We’re calling for the immediate lifting of any sanctions against City College and for the firing of Robert Agrella, the special trustee, who is imposing a dictatorship over our school right now,” said one protester.

But Christine Falvey, a spokesperson for Mayor Lee’s office, said the mayor is working closely with the trustee, as well as the chancellor of the state’s community colleges.

“The mayor has made city resources and staff available to try to meet that deadline to keep the accreditation,” said Falvey. “Closure is not an option.”

Organizer Eric Blanc said his group has tried to meet with Mayor Lee for a month but has been rebuffed, so the group decided to gather outside Lee’s office for a sit-in after a large rally in support of the 85,000-student school earlier Tuesday.

The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges announced last month that City College would lose its accreditation at the end of July 2014. The school is appealing the decision and is hoping that by working to address some of the problems cited by the commission it can maintain its accreditation.

However, the U.S. Department of Education last week issued a letter finding fault with the ACCJC’s processes for evaluating City College, citing vague instructions for compliance, a lack of faculty members on evaluation teams and other issues.

Blanc said the group takes issue with the mayor’s support of City College special trustee Robert Agrella, who was appointed by last month by California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice Harris to oversee the school’s efforts to stay open.

Blanc said the student group opposes Agrella, who has unilateral control to make changes to the school and is refusing to cite the Department of Education’s letter as part of City College’s appeal of the ACCJC’s decision to revoke its accreditation.

He said, “We need the mayor to throw his weight in support of City College and he’s throwing it against it right now.”

“The mayor realizes that these are difficult times for the college and its students, but the best way we can support students is to focus on true reforms that will keep the college open and on a path to long-term success,” said Falvey.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Susan Fahey said a large group from the rally came into City Hall at about 5 p.m. Tuesday. They were given an order to disperse shortly before midnight, but 26 people refused.

Those protesters were cited and then released outside of City Hall early Wednesday morning, she said.

The group has posted pictures of the sit-in on its website at www.saveccsf.org.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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