City College of San Francisco, one of the largest community colleges in the nation, won its bid on Friday to stay accredited, ending a years-long fight to stay open.
The school announced that the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges has reaffirmed its accreditation for seven years.
"My reaction is just real happiness for City College and our students," said Rafael Mandelman, president of the CCSF Board of Trustees. "This is a tremendously great development. It means that we can focus on rebuilding. It means that we can focus our efforts on serving San Francisco better and offering classes that bring it more students. The accreditation crisis has been a tremendous strain on the college."
The commission had placed CCSF on its strongest "show cause" sanction in 2012, requiring the college to prove why it should remain open. The ACCJC, which formally revoked City College's accreditation in 2013, had focused much of its scrutiny on the school’s alleged administrative shortcomings and its financial condition.
"This crisis did not need to happen," Mandelman said. "In my view, City College in 2012 was an institution in need of reform, and it would have been completely appropriate for an accreditor to point out the areas in which City College was weak and needed to work. What was not acceptable was to threaten termination, and then a year later move forward with trying to terminate the college. And it didn’t make the process of fixing what was wrong with City College easier. I think the path that the ACCJC took in 2012 and 2013 actually made it harder to bring City College to a better place."