Save City College (again)

City College of San Francisco (CCSF) was founded in 1935. Over the years it grew and now provides classes to one in every nine residents in the City; some come for credit and then move on to four year colleges, others take the many non-credit courses or get requirements for a midlife career change. CCSF provides free education to San Franciscans and has become the single largest job and skills trainer. San Francisco has always seen itself as a leader in inclusiveness, innovation, creativity and quality.  CCSF reflects those values which have led to an institution that is multicultural, accessible and affordable. Prominent in their mission statement is that CCSF is a Sanctuary College in a Sanctuary City in a Sanctuary State and proud of it.

But once again CCSF is being attacked and its existence threatened. The CCSF administration has put 60% of its instructors, librarians, and counselors on notice of potential layoff. This will leave more than 20,000 students struggling to complete their education. Nursing, English, Biology, Aircraft Maintenance, Automotive, Construction, English as a Second Language, and Philippine Studies to name a few, are all programs where classes are currently full. Many classes will be severely cut or lost altogether.

Even though S.F. is one of the richest cities in the world, there has been an on-going conservative push to privatize and aggressively underfund public education which undermines everyone. CCSF consistently offered residents pathways to a living wage, lifelong learning, and advanced college degrees. We all need to stand up for CCSF – for the students, and workers who make it work by investing in the long-term health of the college. If we don’t, CCSF will be unrecognizable and the whole city will suffer.

On March 12, there was a zoom press conference and an in-person demonstration at City Hall, sponsored by AFT 2121 (an American Federation of Teachers local). Over 650 people participated all told. There were many powerful and moving stories by community members, students and faculty testifying to the importance of CCSF and emphasizing the threat that the layoffs pose to the educational opportunities that can change people’s lives for the better. City and State leaders and the College trustees all have a responsibility to use every resource to protect CCSF. The new federal stimulus package includes COVID relief for colleges. The City must use this money to provide this support, immediately rescind the layoff notices and commit to restoring our City College. But we also will need long-term solutions in addition to last-minute rescues. The years of chronic underfunding and disinvestment must end.

AFT 2121 is asking everyone to contact City and State representatives and ask them to find the funding to save CCSF. See aft2121.org for more info on more actions. Or contact them at 311 Miramar Ave. SF CA 94112/415-585-2121.

Author: lagai

LAGAI-Queer Insurrection is one of the oldest radical queer liberation groups in the U.S. We publish UltraViolet, a more or less bimonthly newspaper, which is mailed free of charge to over 1500 people, including over 800 prisoners. Our website is www.lagai.org.

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