Massive Cuts At City College SF Lead Endangered Staff to Organize ‘Pink Slip Rally’
City College of San Francisco is known for providing a free college education opportunity for San Francisco residents. But many currently enrolled students might not get those degrees — even if they’ve already completed most of the course work — as a round of mass layoffs at the City College of San Francisco (CCSF) threatens more than 160 full-time faculty (30% of full-time faculty, plus additional cuts that equal 90% of part-time faculty), and nearly 35 administrators (74% of administrative staff). These cuts wouldn’t just eliminate hundreds of jobs, they’d also eliminate degree programs that are uniquely accessible to students of color or growing up below the poverty line.
The union representing the City College faculty are organizing a Virtual Press Conference and In-Person Pink Slip Action Friday, March 12, in person on the steps of City Hall (12 Noon) and virtually on Zoom (11:30 a.m.-Noon).
“The college is facing a fiscal crisis, and they’ve decided the main way of resolving that is to threaten the employment of our faculty,” Alan D’Souza, a CCSF librarian who’s also a lead faculty organizer on their faculty union AFT 2121, tells BrokeAssStuart.com. “For the first time in decades, they’re threatening to lay off full-time, tenured and tenure-track faculty.”
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These layoffs are not yet certain, so there’s still something that can be done. Faculty were given advance “Notices” for March 15, but these could become real and permanent layoffs on May 15, 2021.
“It’s appalling and outrageous,” D’Souza tells us. “It is short-sighted, primarily because the potential laying off of the faculty will lead to devastating cuts in those [teachers’] departments.”
CCSF did not respond to our request for comment for this article. But they did put out a statement on Tuesday defending the cuts.
“With 93% of the College’s budget comprised of salary and benefit expenses, the needed changes in expenditures will have impacts on College employees,” the statement says. “The magnitude of the budget challenges means that City College is reducing the number of classes it will offer, as well as curtailing some student services. These reductions, while painful, are necessary to ensure the long-term stability of the College, not just for the current generation of students, but for generations to come.”
The faculty feels these cuts ensure the opposite of stability.
“This puts the college and the students and our faculty in a precarious situation of uncertainty, not knowing what course offerings will be available in the fall of 2021,” D’Souza says. “Students who are already on a pathway to completion would not have a pathway to complete the program or certificate they are already in the process of doing.”
He tells us these students are now “In limbo, and don’t have a road to completion. They can’t get that degree or certificate they were working on.”
These cuts were made while the city of San Francisco and the state of California were still looking enormous COVID-19 related deficits. But the just-passed Biden COVID relief bill provides a windfall for cities and states to get out of those deficits, so there really ought to be more city, state, and federal funds to keep the college afloat.
“The reality is that for decades, City College has been providing educational and economic opportunities for our students,” D’Souza points out. “Students have been growing and blossoming, and those opportunities are going to be lost.”
“The rally Friday is an attempt to make sure those stories — the stories of the vibrancy of the college, the good that comes out of these programs — is actually what’s elevated,” he says. “It’s not the faculty, it’s not the students that are to blame here. Those are the people that are going to be suffering as a consequence of these cuts.”
The Virtual Press Conference and In-Person Pink Slip Action is Friday, March 12, in person on the steps of City Hall (12 Noon, RSVP Here) and virtually on Zoom (11:30 a.m.-Noon, Link Here).