Dear CCSF Community,

I’ll be the first to say this week brought mixed news for the College community. While we wrap up our 9th week of shelter-in-place, things remain as uncertain as ever – and we have some challenging times ahead of us. But I am confident that through partnerships with each of you, we will make it through this, and serve as the strong economic engine our city so desperately needs.

Even in the midst of these challenges, we certainly have something to celebrate: our graduating class of 2020! More than 1,600 students are graduating with degrees in disciplines that include Construction Management, Cybersecurity, Latin American/Latino/a Studies, LGBT Studies, and Vocational Nursing – just to name a few.

And even though we aren’t able to hold Commencement this year, we are determined to do something to honor our graduating students. Beginning May 27, 2020, please visit the CCSF Commencement webpage for a special message from City College leadership, along with a list of this year’s graduates. We’re also inviting all our graduating students to participate in next year’s Commencement Ceremony, one I am hopeful we will get to hold in person again.

Last night, I was honored to be invited to participate in the annual Friends of the Mission Campus Scholarship Recognition virtual event. This year, 32 scholarships were awarded to students of CCSF’s Puente, Construction Administration & Professional Services Academy (CAPSA), and Transitional Studies. The students were incredibly inspirational, and their accomplishments are particularly commendable during these challenging times. Many thanks to Dr. Carlota Texidor del Portillo and Dean Gregoria Cahill.

Please join me in congratulating the class of 2020 – we are so proud of you!

I hope you’ll continue reading for an update on our Fall 2020 plans, real estate developments from yesterday’s Board of Trustee Committee meetings, the state of our budget, and the work we’re doing to secure more funding for the College.

Return to Campus Taskforce Update: Virtual Fall 2020 Classes

You may have already seen the news that the California State University system, Stanford University, and some Bay Area community colleges have announced that their Fall 2020 instruction will be offered in a remote, hybrid format. We are continuing to coordinate with all stakeholder groups on the Return to Campus (R2C) Taskforce. Today, the R2C Taskforce received recommendations from the various subcommittees, which includes Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, Facilities, and Administrative Affairs. The recommendation from all stakeholder groups – including students – was to continue holding classes primarily in a virtual format, with some face-to-face classes as necessary. Academic Affairs will continue working with their subcommittee members to plan accordingly.

Please visit our R2C portal on the CCSF website next week for updates on this topic, including the recommendations from Student Affairs, Facilities, and Administrative Affairs. Watch for an employee questionnaire from Human Resources to assist with continued R2C planning, which will be soon followed by a survey for students. We want to ensure we create a safe environment for everyone when we do return to campus, and want to continue involving the community in these discussions. 

The College’s Fiscal Position

I strongly encourage everyone to join us for the upcoming PGC Budget Committee meeting on Tuesday, May 19, where we will be discussing the College’s budget situation and future actions. We encourage everyone from all constituency groups to submit their FY 20/21 budget questions and concerns to Jeevan Rijal at jrijal@ccsf.edu by noon on Monday, May 18.

Unfortunately and perhaps unsurprisingly, the College is in the same financial position as every educational institution in the state: we are being hit hard by this financial crisis, and are weighing very difficult choices.

We’re making the best financial projections we can, but the true extent of state and local funding impacts remains unknown. However, we do expect these funding losses to be significant and are doing our best to plan for a new, even more constrained budget reality.

Reductions in government funding will greatly impact not only the next fiscal year, but our current one. Given that the state accrediting agency requires all California colleges to maintain a minimum 5% reserve, these funds will have to be replenished – which creates an even more challenging budget situation. With this in mind, I’ve included a summary of some of these impacts below:

Coursework

As with all budgeting decisions, we are trying to keep funding cuts as far from the classroom as possible. Towards that end, we have done everything possible to maintain as many classes as we could afford, with an emphasis on those that lead to graduation and transfer.

Teaching Assignments

Unfortunately, we have had to remove teaching assignments for nearly 250 part time faculty for the Fall 2020 Semester – and we truly regret the real human impact this is having on our community. The painful reality is that the College spends approximately 95% of its budget on compensation, and limiting costs means limiting personnel. 

Real Estate

The cost of the College’s extensive real estate holdings has been under review for quite some time. And with this new economic crisis, it is even more important to make changes to our portfolio. On May 14, the Board of Trustees Budget and Audit Committee made a recommendation to relocate all classes from Ft. Mason to other campus locations. This was in line with the recommendation made by the Participatory Governance Committee on April 7, and the item will be sent to the full board for consideration and official action on May 28.

The current lease at the 1170 Market Street Center will continue through February 2021. The College’s 750 Eddy Street Center is closed for seismic upgrades, and its future use is under review. With the goal of offering the best possible educational setting for the Tenderloin community, a potential use could include establishing City and non-profit partnerships that would transform the location into a multi-use facility. President Williams and have I met with District 6 Supervisor Matt Haney to brainstorm ways to preserve the College’s educational presence in the community while also assisting in the economic recovery.

Lobbying for Increased Revenue

We believe City College is critical to the economic recovery of the region, and we cannot adequately serve our students and aid in recovery efforts if we continue to be underfunded. We will keep working with our stakeholder groups to lobby local, state, and federal legislators to secure additional funding for the College. We presented a full summary of our lobbying activities at this week’s Board of Trustees committee meetings, which is available here.

I’ve highlighted just a few of these activities below:

  • DACA Students: We are continuing our lobbying efforts at the federal level for an additional round of funding that would include all of our undocumented students, and for funding through Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants (DRAI) from the California Department of Social Services.
     
  • Permanent funding: We are making progress in our advocacy efforts with the City of San Francisco to add an initiative to the November 2020 ballot that would provide a permanent source of funding for the College.

If you are interested in joining us in these efforts, we are drafting advocacy letter and email templates for the College community to send to state and federal legislators.

In closing, I’d like to acknowledge that this is a lot of information to digest. But in these unsettling times, keeping everyone informed so that we can effectively work together is a top priority for both the Board of Trustees, and for me.

I want to again say thank you for continuing your hard work in service of our students, even in such a tumultuous time. If you have any questions, please direct them to question@ccsf.edu.

In Gratitude,

Dianna R. Gonzales
Interim Chancellor
City College of San Francisco

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