City College of San Francisco’s Board of Trustees meeting on Jan. 28 was packed with faculty continuing their call for a fair contract.
Before the meeting began, American Federation of Teachers 2121 president and labor studies professor Tim Killikelly led union members in complaining about the college police chief’s decision to keep the room below capacity and insisted those who wanted to attend wait in the hallway be allowed to enter.
“Let them in!” became a rallying cry from the crowd. The meeting was interrupted several times with requests to open the doors. Trustees eventually agreed to let everyone in.
Some of the tension results from ongoing negotiations and the boycott of Interim Chancellor Susan Lamb’s Flex day speech earlier in January.
“The Flex day event really put pressure on the chancellor herself,” said union Vice President Alan D’Souza to the crowd as they awaited entrance to the room, where they hoped to voice concerns about the school’s direction, budget and funding to both the board and chancellor.
Student protestors marched into the room carrying a large “No more business as usual” banner and singing “Solidarity Forever.” After multiple requests from Killikelly and the crowd, trustees also allowed the students to speak first when the room was opened to public comment.
“We haven’t seen any of your faces at public meetings,” said Associated Students Vice President Michaelangelo Reyes to the trustees.
The meeting marked the first time the publicly elected trustees met with their full power reinstated since the accreditation crisis interrupted local control when the state chancellor appointed a special trustee.
Board President Rafael Mandelman suggested a meeting with the students concerned with cuts to resource centers and classes. He emphasized the need for affordable housing for students and faculty.
Ken Rich of the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development gave a presentation about the plan for developing housing on the Balboa Reservoir, which serves as the college’s parking lot.
The proposal includes a mix of market-rate, moderate and affordable housing, open public space and retail for the Public Utility Commission-owned 17.7-acre site.
“It’s one of the most important public sites in the city to accomplish our affordability goals,” Rich said. Mayor Ed Lee has established a goal of building or rehabilitating 30,000 units of housing by 2020.
Though smaller sites are easily made 100 percent affordable under the Public Land Housing program, finishing the reservoir project in a timely fashion means including market-rate units to offset the cost, he said. While there is money for low-income housing, it’s difficult to secure subsidies for moderate-income housing, and the process could take years.
“It’s a trade-off between a lot of money and a lot of time,” Rich said.
Concerns about market-rate housing on public land, the mayor’s ties to developers, an increase in traffic, removal of parking spaces, a long-planned performing arts center and construction disrupting the school were all mentioned during public comment.
“I don’t consider Ed Lee a friend to City College,” Trustee John Rizzo said.
Since high numbers of students drive to school—some as far as Sacramento—some faculty worried losing parking spaces would negatively impact already low attendance numbers. The city is currently conducting a Traffic Demand Management study of the area.
“I’m concerned about dumping more traffic on Phelan,” Rizzo said. “We have rows of traffic jams now that they’ve installed traffic lights.”
Trustees and teachers supported offering students reduced-fare transit passes to encourage use of public transportation.
Most agreed that traffic and pedestrian accessibility needed to be studied, and proposed a redesign of the surrounding area’s streets and sidewalks, addressing a lack of proper crosswalks and establishing a better path to and from nearby Balboa Park Station.
“Our students have issues of safety at night,” Student Trustee Bouchra Simmons said. “They wish to have a shuttle from CCSF to BART.”
Though many union members attended to discuss the contract, discussions surrounding the Balboa Reservoir plan took up most of the time.
Trustee Brigitte Davila, who represents the college at project’s monthly Community Advisory Committee meetings, plans to introduce a resolution requesting the Public Utilities Commission deed the property to the school.
The trustees reelected Vice President Thea Selby and President Rafael Mandelman to their positions.