Dozens were arrested on Tuesday night as demonstrators staged a sit-in at San Francisco City Hall, protesting a commission's decision to revoke the accreditation of City College of San Francisco, the largest college in California.
The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges first notified the school of the decision last year, noting poor management and serious financial problems. Should the accreditation loss go forward without a successful review or appeal, the move would leave many students without financial aid and possibly void their college credits.
In a letter, the commission informed the school that their accreditation would terminate July 31, 2014. It cited a failure to implement recommendations regarding financial accountability and institutional deficiencies in leadership and governance. Last month, the college filed an official Request for Review in hopes of reversing the commission's decision.
In a bizarre twist, the U.S. Department of Education issued a letter finding fault with the commission panel that oversaw the decision the day before it was released.
Tuesday night's sit-in lasted until 11:50 p.m. and resulted in 26 arrests of students and advocates who gathered outside Mayor Ed Lee's office after their requests to meet with him were denied, KTVU reports.
On the group's website, organizers said the sit-in was a call for the mayor to support its demands for him to drop all of the commission's sanctions against the college and to fire special trustee Robert Agrella, who was appointed last month to oversee the college's efforts to stay open.
Agrella decided not to include the Department of Education's criticisms of the commission in the official request for review. "I believe that if the college changes direction and begins to attack the Commission, rather than working with it to correct the problems in the institution, it will jeopardize our ability to maintain accreditation," Agrella said. The sit-in group believes his decision has sabotaged their chance of saving the school.
The arrested students and advocates were released early Wednesday morning.