Lacy part of team that penalized San Francisco

Linda Lacy, Cerritos College president, recalls her time on the accreditation team for the City College of San Francisco, a school in danger of losing its accreditation, and how Cerritos College fares in comparison.

Lacy said that the accreditation report has to remain confidential, but did elaborate on why San Francisco is in such a situation.

“In all honesty, (it is) a good college, but (it was) trying to do too many things with very few resources. (It) tried to have centers in every district. And when you have centers, you have to provide full comprehensive services, meaning counseling, financial aid.

“Well it’s so cost prohibitive, some of these centers were literally sitting one mile to two miles apart. (It was) dividing (its) resources so thin, (it wasn’t) able to do something well. About 95% of the budget was all tied up in salaries and benefits, so it gave little room for facility improvement or innovative program services.”

With such a populous region, Lacy expressed concern for the students and hopes San Francisco can address the issues and rectify the flaws.

Enrollment has already dropped significantly, according to Lacy, and in order to continue the pursuit of a degree, students have to adapt and attend other nearby community colleges if all fails, as the looming thought of a accreditation-lacked system is a cause of concern for students.

She said that the actual review curve that one files as a part of the accreditation team is “cut and dry” and that it’s truly non-subjective.

“You have criteria that schools have to meet. It’s, do they have it? And if they do, are they doing it well? You have to ask yourself, are they meeting this standard? It has to come with that. And the evidence has to show that type of thing.”

Accreditation teams are established through experience. If one is a business expert, then one will review the business area. A librarian? Address the issues in the library. Every member is picked by a commission team, who look at applications by staffers in colleges.

Whether or not Cerritos College suffers the same fate as the City College of San Francisco remains to be seen, but Lacy is confident in the school, and even if there are issues, it can be resolved.

“We’ve kept our finances in very good shape. If we had recommendations, we would embrace them and get them fixed.”