City College Trustees: Enrollment Must be Increased

City College of San Francisco’s African-American Studies Chair Tarik Farrar speaking at the April 23 Board of Trustees meeting.

Following its faculty union’s one-day, all-campus strike, City College of San Francisco’s April 28 Board of Trustees meeting was filled with commenters calling for a better enrollment plan and more student involvement in college affairs.

“I saw the support that the city has for this school […] We have alumni from the 1960s who bring food for the faculty on the line. There were students out there in numbers, there were high school students,” said African-American Studies Chair Tarik Farrar. “The vision being offered for this school is not the vision for this city. Who do you represent?”

In an April 23 San Francisco Chronicle op-ed, interim Chancellor Susan Lamb stated the college simply did not have enough money for the 18.19 percent over three years raise the union is calling for but that her administration is committed to a 7.19 percent raise over two years.

“Unless enrollment rebounds tremendously in 2016-17, the college faces a significant budget deficit of $25 million as soon as fiscal year 2017-18, when state-funded subsidies end,” Lamb stated. She also called the strike “unlawful” for disrupting “fall registration and distract us from focusing on reaching an agreement.”

American Federation of Teachers Local 2121 President Tim Killikelly estimated that over 1,000 people came out to support the strike, including faculty and students, District 5 Supervisor London Breed and District 7 Supervisor Norman Yee and commuters who honked their horns in support.

At the meeting, Lamb refuted the idea that administrators were enjoying raises while faculty was not.

“They are in the same situation as the faculty. My current salary is about 15 percent below the chancellor in 2007,” Lamb said.

Many public commenters were  dissatisfied with the college’s enrollment efforts and outreach to both current and potential students.

Win-Mon Kyi, a student and CCSF Solidarity Committee member, asked where trustees and  the administrators were during the strike and questioned how often administrators met with students. ESL instructor Stephanie Levine agreed, and said students “become invisible in the conversation about the future of the school. Please keep them in mind.”

“I want to encourage people who are concerned about City’s enrollment and growth to stick around,” Board of Trustees President Rafael Mandelman said. Board meetings often last six or seven hours and adjourn past midnight, breaking for closed sessions.

The enrollment presentation, given by Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs Anna Davies, did not start until 11:00 p.m. Davies said that she could not find a significant drop or spike in enrollment over the past few years.

Trustee Alex Randolph called for better enrollment management during a presentation on marketing. He tried clicking on ads for the school or calling the enrollment phone number in the evening, but said he was unsuccessful, while Trustee Brigitte Davila said she tried to register for classes, but the system would not accept her identification number. Trustees agreed that the college was not making it easy for students to navigate the registration and enrollment process.

“This low enrollment is not natural,” said a student activist who identified himself as JJ. “It’s a result of the ACCJC. That means that we can reverse this trend. It’s up to the administration and to the board. It has suffered a lot because students have not been included.”

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