City College Chancellor Wants Consultant to Investigate Last Week's Violent Protest

Categories: Education

After last week's emotionally charged protest at City College -- which led to several arrests and at least one student being pepper sprayed -- Chancellor Art Tyler is ordering an independent review of the pandemonium that erupted on campus.

"As I stated last week, I am deeply saddened that we had physical altercations involving students and police on campus," Tyler said in a statement released this afternoon. "I believe we must do a better job at establishing a safe and respectful campus environment. It begins with doing a better job of talking to each other and sustaining a civil environment for teaching and learning. We must promote civil and respectful discourse. It is our only hope for moving forward together."

Tyler is planning to stop by the College's Participatory Governance Council tomorrow to propose three initiatives that'll hopefully promote "a respectful campus climate" -- in other words the exact opposite of what we saw last week.

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City College: Arrests Made as Protesters Barricade Themselves into Campus Building

Categories: Education
A pair of students were arrested yesterday during a protest at City College, and some demonstrators remained barricaded within an administration building on campus overnight following heated clashes with police

Peter Anning, a CCSF spokesman, told the media that one student was pepper-sprayed during the demonstration on the Ingleside campus, and another was arrested for allegedly assaulting a police officer. 

More than 100 protesters yesterday called for the resignation of Robert Agrella, the special trustee installed last July to run the embattled school in lieu of its own elected board of trustees. At issue yesterday was a plan implemented under Agrella requiring students to pay up or establish a payment plan prior to registering for classes.  

In addition to the arrests, a group of demonstrators occupied Conlan Hall overnight, demonstratively exiting the building this morning

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Viktor Yanukovych Is Also a Professor in Mountain View

Jim Herd
The academy
Former Ukraine president Viktor Yanukovych evidently has more titles to brag about than "fugitive ex-leader" and "disgraced kleptocrat."

According to a rather elaborate Wikipedia trail, he's also a "professor" at the International Academy of Sciences, Education, Industry and Arts, which is registered to a P.O. box in Mountain View, California.

Aside from a one-sentence nod in his Wikipedia entry, little is known about Yanukovych's strange Bay Area connections. Local blogger SF Citizen published a photo of the shell university, which takes up all of 5 square inches of coveted Silicon Valley real estate.

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UC Berkeley Students File Federal Complaint Over University's Indifference to Sexual Assault

Sofie Karasek speaks at a press conference yesterday.
Sexual assault complaints fall on deaf ears at UC Berkeley, according to 31 current and formers students who filed two federal complaints with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights Wednesday.

But apparently, that's neither new or unusual. The current charges -- which allege that Cal administrators failed to investigate serial rapists and acted indifferent to harassment reports -- are just the latest in a spate of Title IX grievances filed at campuses nationwide. The 1972 law compels all federally funded institutions to investigate claims of gender-related violence or harassment, an obligation that many schools fail to fulfill.

In fact, the new UC Berkeley filing follows a similar complaint that Cal students filed last year, in conjunction with their peers at two other state campuses. In August, 20-year-old Sofie Karasek -- who is named in the current complaint -- testified before a state Senate committee, alleging that her assailant received lax penalties after admitting to the crime. She and other assault victims say the penalty for rape at UC Berkeley is no more severe than that for cheating on an exam.

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SF State May Give Gator Mascot the Boot

Endangered species?
San Franciscans are a progressive lot, but we also hate change. It seems contradictory, but there you go. That's how we roll. 

In a town priding itself on innovation, the constituency for the status quo is almost always much more powerful than the constituency for change. SF State President Leslie Wong seems poised to find this out the hard way. 

In a recent interview with the school's paper, the Xpress, he stated he was "90 percent sure" SFSU would be dumping its 85-year-old mascot, the Gator. "It's overwhelming that people don't get the Gator thing at all." 

It doesn't seem all that complicated; an alligator isn't exactly an outlandish college mascot. We don't get that people don't get the Gator thing. At all. 

Wong also told the Xpress he'd like to re-make State into "a more sports-oriented university," plunking $2.1 million into remaking the gym and rebranding the school via a new mascot "that best fits us and the new future." 

Pumping money into athletics at an institution where, only recently, cutbacks forced students to pack classes like lifeboats on the Titanic and -- no joke -- put in 48 hours notice for books at the library seems to be an interesting take. 

Beware hoping for a mascot "that best fits us and the new future." You may get it. 

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Judge Says Accrediting Commission Can't Close City College This Summer

Categories: Education

Class isn't dismissed just yet
City College scored a big victory today when a San Francisco judge said the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges could not terminate the college's accreditation amid litigation.

Judge Curtis E.A. Karnow's ruling came down this afternoon, saying the ACCJC is barred from finalizing its planned termination of City College's accreditation in July while the case wends its way through the court system. In other words, school is won't be out until the civil case is decided in court.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera in August sued the ACCJC, claiming the private accrediting body is politically bias, engages in improper procedures, and has conflicts of interest -- all of which "unlawfully influence its evaluation of the state's largest community college."

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CCSF: Accrediting Commission Scores Poorly With U.S. Dept. of Education

The New CCSF.
City Attorney Dennis Herrera's lawsuit against the Accrediting Commission of Junior Colleges is currently hovering in legal limbo.

Last Thursday, a San Francisco Superior Court Judge heard arguments for and against Herrera's proposed injunction to block the commission from defanging City College of San Francisco, but gave no indication as to how or when he might rule.

An attorney's office spokesman expressed his frustration in a press release issued shortly thereafter: "Judge [Curtis E.A.] Karnow did not rule from the bench, he issued no tentative order, and he gave no indication of how he intends to rule before concluding today's hearing. Neither did he indicate when his decision on the preliminary injunction motions would be forthcoming."

In the meantime, Herrera gathered more ammo, in the form of a stern U.S. Department of Education appraisal of the Accrediting Commission, which deemed it noncompliant in 15 areas.

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CCSF: City Attorney Dennis Herrera to Spar with State Accrediting Commission Thursday

Dennis Herrera hitting the books.
Our ever politically astute city attorney is gearing up for another round with the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, six months after the private agency voted to revoke accreditation for City College of San Francisco, potentially leaving 85,000 students in the lurch.

Dennis Herrera has waged a high-energy legal offense against the Accrediting Commission ever since news of the termination proceedings first broke. In August, he filed a lawsuit in San Francisco Superior Court, alleging that the 19 commissioners had a political vendetta against the school.

When members of the California Federation of Teachers filed their own complaint against the commission in April, they accused the commissioners of "issuing sanctions at a rate hugely out of proportion to other regional accreditation agencies." In essence, they charged, the agency was not only vindictive, but drunk with power.

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San Francisco Therapy Dogs Are Helping Stressed Out Students Prep for Finals

Categories: Education

Shawn Calhoun/ USF.
Katy Yount, a third year law student at USF, gets a free therapy session with "Sophia Loren"
Earlier this week, we introduced you to a pack of therapy dogs stationed at SFO who are there to treat hurried passengers traumatized by the holiday travel season. While those canines do their jobs (and they have their work cut out for them), their co-workers will be down at the University of San Francisco calming stressed out students during finals.

The university is allowing students to check out dogs, the same way they check out library books, over the next few weeks during exam season.

If you're feeling anxious about that science exam, or perhaps you are just looking for another reason to distract yourself and procrastinate, head down to Gleeson Library at USF on Monday, and sign up for a session with a pup who is trained specifically to ease your worries.

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City Attorney Dennis Herrera Seeks Preliminary Injunction to Stop City College Closure

Herrera back on the offense.
Though it's beset by budget woes and facing imminent closure, City College of San Francisco doesn't suffer for a lack of allies. The most prominent, of course, is our ever-politically astute City Attorney Dennis Herrera, who ramped up his legal offense against the Accrediting Commission for Junior Colleges this morning.

In August, Herrera sued the commission, arguing that its move to shutter the school amounted to political retaliation, disguised as rational enforcement. In his complaint and subsequent spate of press releases, Herrera pointed out that Accrediting Commission members had long opposed City College's "open access" policy to accept any applicant, regardless of income or ability. He and other critics have painted the de-accreditation campaign in class-war terms, since it would deny thousands of students their fair shot at an affordable college degree.

And now, Herrera says, the Accrediting Commission is dragging its heels in the legal skirmish, as well.

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