The City College of San Francisco Board of Trustees and Interim Chancellor received a number of questions to address during the April 7 Virtual Town Hall, available in its entirety here. These questions have been organized by topic into different sections*. Each section begins with the list of questions, followed by the answers. This document is current as of April 10, 2020. Please continue to check the CCSF website for important community updates.
Thank you for your support as we continue working together to secure a bright future for our community.
* Please note that all questions were left in the form in which they were originally received.
I. Questions Related to Class Offerings and Online Learning
We will need short-term, emergency, completion classes, and new classes to meet the staggering unemployment figures in our region and assist in re-tooling and training in new technologies and for available jobs. We will also need innovative ways for students to catch up (especially in hands-on and CTE labs). How will the Office of Instruction work with our CTE Depts to ensure that we have space and the budget to respond to the needs of the newly unemployed and employers in need of a skilled workforce? Other colleges are planning for summer sessions, over-lapping sessions, extended semesters, fast track classes, and classes tied to labor needs. We have a stagnant schedule with no room for innovation and a decrease in course offerings just as unemployment and training needs are at the highest. The BACCC and our CTE Depts. want to respond, but the current "downsize offerings" message is out of step with regional movement.
Can you please address plans for the upcoming Summer session? Specifically, when will it be held, will there be a reduction in the number of classes from last summer (and which areas) and will it be conducted online or in-person? Thank you.
What planning is occurring regarding the fall semester and the possible need to continue a 'shelter in place' and conduct learning online?
Do you think by fall 2020 we are going to use Zoom to take classes? Because I really don’t like it.
Students are losing housing/employment in the midst of this crisis. The future is very uncertain for our community at this point and sheltering in place could be extended or resume. Will CCSF move to an online-only summer schedule for 2020 to enable students to avoid commuting/travel costs, allow student parents to care for their children who will be home and still attend classes, and give students the spare time they need to search for new employment/housing/ get settled, etc.?
I'm concerned about the quality of CCSF online courses during the shutdown. I am taking a lecture class this semester, which has now become an online class. But since this shift, there is no more lecture, even though it should be possible to broadcast a lecture remotely. Because the material for this course is quite complex, the lack of lectures has made it quite difficult to continue. Will future online classes include a lecture component if the previous in-person version of the class included a lecture?
Students learn differently. Don’t matter the circumstances. This can affect a student's ability to comply with requirements because of the face-to-face classes were cancelled. What procedures are being taken if students fail the class because the face-to-face class was converted to an online class structure and has to comply with online grading? Will students be faced with paying the class fees because of this?
What kind of assurances can the administration provide that the college values the students in the Evans Center programs as much as they do those students in other centers who wish to attend four-year schools. The perception of many of the Evans faculty is that at present, our students' goals and desires to create a stable life for themselves and their families are given short shrift.
What is the plan for developing the Fall schedule? Please give a timeline of when key decisions will be made, who will make any decisions about cuts, and when those decisions will be made.
I have always advocated in PDC that City faculty should be technologically agile. This crisis has placed severe demands on the Ed Tech staff. Do we have plans to increase training staff (not teaching faculty) to ramp up and get all faculty to develop technological (virtual, digital) independence and resilience? Thanks.
How will this affect classes for the upcoming semester? Will in-person courses be moved to online?
After the last recession City College had over 100,000 enrolled students. Over the last two years, due to budget concerns, City College has reduced faculty, classified staff, and decreased its class offering and services. The current pandemic will likely result in an economic recession, driving even more people to the college in need of our services. What are your plans to position the college to meet these demands?
How might City College support students who don't have laptops, WiFi, and/or digital literacy? Thank you! We are in the process of procuring Chromebooks and securing wifi access for students through the State Chancellor’s office, categorical and other funds. Students can be registered on a list through firstname.lastname@example.org beginning April 7.
When are we getting resources for students? Why does a student have to go through faculty for a laptop? You guys get millions of dollars to help the students but won’t help them out.
Will CCSF be providing noncredit students with computers?
Answers To Questions 1 - 15
We are living in unprecedented times, and the public health and political realities that we live within can be drastically different from one hour to the next. This requires us to remain flexible and nimble as we chart our course moving forward.
For that reason, it will be difficult to provide concrete answers to some of the questions submitted for discussion. We appreciate the community’s patience as we work to find the best possible solutions that will ensure our students can continue working towards their academic goals, and that we can continue to provide the wrap-around services that are so critical to helping students achieve them.
We’d like to start by addressing questions related to the format of future instruction.
As previously mentioned, things are continually changing – and changing quickly. We are following the most recent guidance issued by public health officials, elected officials, and leaders within the California Community College system. So – what does this mean for classes at CCSF? The College has recently announced that Summer 2020
coursework will be offered in an online format. We plan to make a determination about the format of Fall coursework by June. You can find more information in a statement released by Interim Chancellor Dianna Gonzales here.
In terms of what is in store for the Summer and Fall 2020 schedules, we are continuing on the fiscal path we have outlined clearly over the last year.
The College must balance its budget, increase its reserves, and continue its work towards closing the budget deficit. This is going to be even more challenging given the anticipated reduction in revenue from local, state, and federal sources. The City of San Francisco alone is projecting a $1.7 billion deficit. This means we are going to have to double down on our work bringing our spending in line with our revenue.
In addition to reducing spending across all areas of our budget, we will also need to continue our work adjusting the College’s schedule of classes. This means directing the College’s limited resources towards offering classes that lead to a degree or transfer, and adding or expanding programs that provide students with the education and training needed to enter new and growing professions.
We are also well aware that when the economy suffers, enrollment at community colleges tends to increase. Therefore, we will also take into consideration those in our community who have lost their employment because of COVID-19.
We look forward to being able to share more information as we make further progress towards developing our Fall 2020 schedule, and anticipate publishing this schedule in early May.
We know the transition of face-to-face learning to an online format was difficult for some. Unfortunately, there was simply no other option - and we had to do our best within the limited time frame we had to make this transition.
However, we are committed to providing quality instruction and student support services during this emergency situation. To that end, we have implemented a variety of policies and identified a number of supportive services to best help our students succeed during this time. For example, we are currently working with internal stakeholders and external partners to gauge the technology needs of our community, and to secure the resources – such as laptops and free WiFi access – that some within our community need.
If you are a student in need of this type of support, please send an email to email@example.com. Please know that as soon as we have more information about these available services, we will share it widely within the community. In the meantime, please check the CCSF website for the most up-to-date information regarding these supportive services, academic policies, and more.
II. Questions related to employment
I would like to know what will be the options for classified staff that cannot work remotely. Will they get paid somehow, should apply for unemployment or CCSF will offer other alternatives and if so, since when they will be effective?
Sending warmth and positive auras to ALL the members of BT. I hear a lot news about the UC systems laying-off staff that fall into a "career" category/classifications; respectfully will CCSF come to that point due to the deficit that the college is already experiencing long before COVID-19? What are the long-range plans for future months to come...unemployments? Yikes, that will be down and under for the community-at-large!! Do we have a HOTLINE or some type of e-blast for administrators and/or staff to check-in with our valuable customers/community: the 30,000 or so students' well-being? I continue to have faith N hope! Thx & be well.
If/when the shelter in place is lifted, what measures will the BOT take to protect specific employee populations that are high risk for Covid-19 (respiratory issues, pregnancy, etc.) to allow them the option to continue working from home, now that it is proven we can be effective remotely?
How can we ensure our staff stays employed?
Back in December, all administrators were given pink slips, allowing for restructuring to be put in place starting July 1. What skill-sets or restructuring do you see needed moving forward, especially within the finance area, where there is no CFO, our highest finance person is 3 levels down from the Interim Chancellor, our budget monitor is 4 levels down and we have clearly shown that we are unable to plan, project, monitor, and properly execute?
Answers To Questions 16 - 20
Many of you have written with concerns about the future of employment at City College. The Board is committed to continuing the employment and pay for all employees, including our student workers.
Classified employees whose functions cannot be performed remotely but are designated as essential by the area Senior Vice Chancellor have worked with Facilities and the Campus Police Department to provide access to the campus, consistent with the social distancing protocols.
All classified staff should work with their immediate supervisor to identify work assignments during this time. Work assignments can be professional development activities through online resources or other assignments that benefit the college and employee.
If and when we are called back to campus, we are ensuring that any of those in identified risk groups have the appropriate protections to ensure their safety.
We have already modified our work processes to effectively work remotely, and to the extent it makes sense, we will continue with those modified practices for members of our community who cannot safely return to work in person.
The health and safety of our students and employees are paramount. Anyone needing accommodation should work with their immediate supervisor and the ADA Compliance Officer.
III. Questions related to facilities (Bond / Balboa / Real Estate)
How will the Board share priorities and include constituents (students, faculty, staff, neighbors, public) in the planning for use of recent voter-approved bond funds?
Do the Board and Chancellor Gonzales agree with Mark Rocha's statement that CCSF should use its real estate holdings to balance its budget? Can you describe in detail what that means?
According to the college website the board of trustees, in closed sessions has been approving some major construction contracts since the initial shelter in place caused by the Corona crisis. With a possible major recession on the way would it not be a good idea to put all projects on hold, until a clearer Idea of how stable the economy is and probably get a much better bang for the taxpayer buck, through much lower future contract bids and transparency?
Are you going to demand to have the PUC Reservoir Property, which is the public property currently used by CCSF, transferred to CCSF, or will you allow it to be used by a for-profit private developer who plans to build housing that is predominantly unaffordable to most members of the CCSF Community?
Answers to Questions 21 - 24
Questions regarding the future of our real estate holdings will be answered once we have a long-term Interim Chancellor in place.
As mentioned during the Town Hall, The Balboa Reservoir was on the agenda for discussion at the Thursday, April 9 Planning Commission hearing, which people were encouraged to attend. A full recording of that meeting, along with meeting minutes, can be found here. You can also find information about future meetings on their website.
Also mentioned during the meeting, anyone interested in the Balboa project is invited to attend the monthly Balboa Reservoir and Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) meetings. You can learn more on the committee’s website, here.
In terms of bond spending, the Facilities team regularly provides information and consultation to the Participatory Governance Council, the Facilities Committee, the Citizens Bond Oversight Committee, and the Facilities Oversight Committee every month. More information about this can be found in the Facilities section of the CCSF website.
At the moment, in line with City policy, bond construction has been put on pause. However, work related to planning, design, and permitting continues.
What is CCSF doing about graduation
What’s gonna happen with the graduation? Postponed?
ANSWER to Question 25
We have received several questions related to Commencement. After much thought and discussion involving Associate Vice Chancellors and Senior Vice Chancellors, we have determined that in order to ensure the health and safety of our community, there will be no commencement ceremony this coming May.
However, Student Affairs is sending out a survey to graduating students to determine when and how to offer a replacement ceremony.
We are continuing to process graduation applications, and all students who are eligible to receive a degree will receive their diplomas in the mail this fall, as they do every year.
V. Chancellor Search / Dr. Rocha Departure
Since the Governor has directed Californians to stay at home to slow the spread of the virus do you see this possible as a distraction or perhaps slow down the search for valuable candidates to be able to functionally lead our College?
Since the accreditation crisis, we have seen a number of chancellors at the college with different leadership styles. Yet one common theme, especially during the years that the Board was disempowered under the state-imposed STWEP, is that major changes have come from the top without the input of those working day in day out with students in our classes, programs, and services, as well as from the deans and department chairs who are held to account. How will you ensure both transparencies and shared decision making under our Interim Chancellors and in the hiring of the future Chancellor?
Explain thoroughly the abrupt departure of former Chancellor Rocha. He has avoided all consequences of his slash-and-burn approach to our college’s funding, and this buy-off is very ugly stuff.
How are we going to prevent corruption and incompetence from our next chancellor?
The departure of Chancellor Rocha was quite abrupt for most employees of the district, especially considering the current health crisis in the city and the world at large. This also comes on the heels of a series of emails stating the district was facing a potential $13 million budget deficit. What is being done to stabilize the college with respect to leadership(not just keeping the boat afloat but moving it forward), fiscal responsibility, internal infrastructure (having a plan in place and the necessary items to implement it), and to provide transparency in the decision-making process (having classified and faculty leadership at the decision-making table with Management/Administration and sharing information about that process with the district employees from the beginning to the end)?
Answer To Questions 26-30
We will not be able to share any additional information regarding the departure of former Chancellor Dr. Mark Rocha. The only information we can share has already been posted publicly. We are continuing our work to identify a long-term interim and permanent chancellor.
In regards to the Chancellor search, the shelter-in-place will not impact our ability to conduct an extensive search or to engage our community during this process. We will be sharing more details about this process with the community in the near future.
Will the Trustees insist that a monthly accounting of ALL accounts - restricted and unrestricted - be presented at each board of trustees meeting with a summary page explaining anomalies, as well as the dashboard that you have been asking for? When are the Trustees going to stand your ground, insist on best financial monitoring be practiced, and require proper oversight of the funds?
The Board and administration have taken steps to ensure proper and timely fiscal oversight is occurring. The budget is developed through an extensive, transparent internal governance process through a Participatory Governance Committee. Members of this committee include faculty, students, staff, and administrators who meet regularly to “understand, discuss, evaluate and make recommendations on the District’s annual budget, budget processes, and budget procedures.” The minutes from all of these meetings are posted online. We encourage you to read more about the committee’s description and purpose here.
Additionally, the Board of Trustees holds monthly, publicly-noticed Budget and Audit Committee hearings, during which the College presents on budget development and the institution’s financial standings. This information is also reported out at the full Board of Trustees meeting, hosted at the end of each month. You can find more information about all of these meetings, including past discussions, here.
VII. Questions related to Dean Lystrup / Conflict of Interest
What are the BOT rules against conflict of interest and nepotism that could impact acting and future Chancellor and family reporting relationships? Are reporting relationship under review now?
Under California's Conflicts of Interest Act, "an individual or entity from whom the official has received income or promised income...(or) official's finances...as well as those of [their] immediate family)," and under San Francisco's Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code section 3.200(c), “public officers and employees must not...participate in decisions related to their own character or conduct of that or their family members.” Meaning even though California doesn’t prohibit Diana Gonzales from employing her son Noah Lystrup, like in the District of Columbia, this disqualifies both Gonzales and Lystrup from performing several duties associated with their position. For example, Noah Lystrup as the Dean or Student Engagement and Wellness would need to excuse himself from providing any advice, or interfering in any way with the appointment of students to the hiring committee—the committee that will ultimately decide who our long-term chancellor will be. And Interim Chancellor Gonzales will not be able to oversee any employment related request coming from Dean Lystrup. And with many other possible restrictions, with the liability of possible administrative, civil, or even criminal penalties, it’s going to be like walking through a minefield for all governing bodies, including the Board of Trustees.
The College has developed an updated nepotism policy, consistent with the policy developed by the City and County of San Francisco. This policy has and will be followed, without exception.
It is worth noting that Chancellor Gonzales was not involved in the hiring of Dean Lystrup, and Dean Lystrup will not have any involvement in the appointment or selection of a new long-term Interim or permanent Chancellor.
VIII. OLAD / Non-Credit / Ft. Mason
Will Fort Mason continue as an art Campus for OLAD students under a long term lease?
Regarding Ft. Mason: Please sign a long term lease and restore the art program at Ft. Mason. This place is a gem and we'll never get it back once we lose it. Our budget problems will get better with time. Let's preserve this very special program for the people of San Francisco.
What is your vision for the future of the Fort Mason Campus which serves the Art Community with closes in drawing painting, ceramics, sculpture, etc., and what is your vision for older adult students who are served by the superb facilities at Fort Mason?
How will they help in saving the senior classes at Fort Mason?
Will the new leadership at CCSF realign/return its mission back to making our community college serve the wider community of San Francisco again, by restoring Older Adult Education and vocational training, and honoring the long art tradition at Fort Mason, by renewing the lease for at least the next 5 years?
Will you restore the discriminatory cuts of senior OLAD life-long learning art classes at Fort Mason?
When you look at CCSF as a whole, how you see non-credit in relation to that whole? What role does it play (for the school, the students, the community, the City) and what is your vision for the future of non-credit at CCSF? Speak to the mission statement that although personal enrichment programs and resources are consistent with the College’s primary mission, they are provided as resources allow.
Is there a plan to reinstate the adult extension classes at Ft Mason? If not, why not?
For what reason was the Older Adults Department reduced by almost 90 % when it has successfully offered life-long learning to thousands of our San Francisco seniors for decades and has provided the college with funding from its high enrollment?
I would like to request that you keep fort mason for art classes
Will you commit to continuing the arts program at Fort Mason?
The campus at Fort Mason is critically important to the San Francisco community. I wanted to know what the plans are to keep this open after the quarantine is lifted? Thank You
How does CCSF plan to reverse the age discrimination of the previous chancellor where a majority of the classes cancelled where OLAD classes?
Will OLAD classes that were cancelled last year (e.g., life sculpture and drawing) be allowed to operate through CCSF Extension (they tried but we're denied)? If not, why not?
Answer to Questions 34 - 47
As we’ve said many times before, the College must prioritize offering coursework that helps students graduate and transfer, and to close the achievement gap for students of color.
Even so, we know how important these classes are to our older adult community. In recognition of this, earlier this year we began exploring the possibility of working with community partners to find new ways to continue serving the City's older adult population.
However, given the current pandemic and resulting economic reality, the landscape has changed significantly since these discussions first began. The question of Older Adult Learning will need to be revisited once a new, long-term Interim Chancellor is in place this coming July.
It is worth noting that whether or not to continue offering classes at Fort Mason is part of a much larger discussion surrounding the College’s real estate holdings and activities, which will also take place once a new long-term Interim has been appointed.
IX. Additional Questions
What will the Trustees do to ensure that students are actually being put first – included in the important decisions like finding a new Chancellor and that the Balboa Reservoir should be given to CCSF?
Students will continue to be included as part of hiring committees, and all other hiring committee members are committed to making students-first decisions. Questions regarding the Balboa Reservoir project have been answered above.
How soon will the very popular and unique Metal Arts and Jewelry Program (within the CCSF Art Department) open? The fully equipped Department is rusting and we need to get back to the benches and learning important professional skills.
As the College has said many times before, the College must prioritize offering coursework that helps students graduate and transfer, and which close the achievement gap for students of color. The future of jewelry and other programming will have to be based on the future public health situation and economic reality. These types of decisions will be made in partnership with the College’s long-term interim Chancellor, who will begin this coming July.
I teach ceramics at CCSF. These are very popular classes that the students find extremely hard to get into. Many students dropped when the school was closed, but they are hoping to be able to re-register when school opens again. Can we give priority to the students that needed to drop? They really got cheated out of a full semester of work in the studio.
This is a policy that is currently being discussed by College leadership.
Regarding Public Safety, will there be a hiring of a QUALIFIED Public Safety Chief any time soon seeing how Public Safety needs leadership and stability? please answer through a public forum such as during the actual town hall meeting? Greatly appreciate it.
Recruitment for this position is underway and will follow established procedures.
Could you please update the organization charts for the various divisions of the college? The charts currently posted on the website are quite out-of-date. It can be very difficult to ascertain who is in charge of which division, who reports to whom, which positions have been eliminated, and which remain vacant. Perhaps at the town hall, you could introduce the major administrators and the scope of their work to begin to establish some definition. Then each major administrator could be charged with updating and publishing their org chart. Thank you!
Yes, we are working to update these and will notify the community when these updates have been completed.
How can my students or any community members (other than faculty and staff) ask a question for this meaningful Town Hall Meeting? They do not have access to this form and they are very anxious to ask their questions.
The College gave the community extensive time to submit their questions and comments via an online form. They were also invited to submit public comments up to 30 minutes before the meeting to firstname.lastname@example.org.
THIS IS MORE A QUESTION FOR THE INTERIM CHANCELLOR. The last Audit.
Corrective actions to take in response to the Eide Bailly audit came out as bullet points that seem to offer a neat summary of goals pursued by your predecessor and former boss: (please ignore the numerals) 1. ONE--Reduce over the next two years the number of full-time equivalent faculty who are currently compensated not to teach from the current 100 FTEF to 75 FTEF, an annual savings of nearly $4M. 2. TWO—Identify programs for discontinuance and teach-out, without layoff of any regular full time tenured or tenure-track faculty. 3. THREE--Explore partnerships and funding opportunities for non-credit lifelong learning and enrichment courses. 4. 5. These involve getting more work from full-time faculty and reducing or eliminating part-time faculty, whose assignments were already reduced last November so that they lost their health care. 6. FOUR--Continue the student-centered restructuring of the academic program begun in 2018 that aligns the class schedule with the top priorities of CCSF mission statement of graduation, transfer, workforce certificate completion, and basic skills. This tends to narrow educational opportunities for students and push City College further towards a junior college model 7. FIVE--Develop and implement a real estate plan in 2020 that will assess the revenue options for current CCSF-owned campus properties to reduce costs and secure funding for reserves and efforts to build enrollment. Why is leveraging real estate such a priority for the College, to the point where three of the campuses are identified by Mr. Sohn as being expendable, especially while expanding online offerings—that's another of the bullet points?
All of these issues will be discussed in partnership with the new long-term interim chancellor, who will begin this coming July.