More than a dozen City College of San Francisco teachers are camping outside Conlan Hall ahead of a Friday vote by the college’s elected Board of Trustees over more than 200 layoffs of part-time and full-time faculty.
Dubbed “Camp Conlan,” the American Federation of Teachers Local 2121 set up the tents on Tuesday after a press conference where students, labor allies and faculty spoke and sang against the layoffs. The campers will stay in front of the administrative building indefinitely to protest downsizing the college. [Disclosure: This reporter is an instructor in City College’s Journalism Department and a member of AFT 2121.]
The college administration said the cuts are necessary to make up for a $7 million budget gap and to account for declining enrollment projections.
“We are on track to have a 12% reserve at the end of the 22-23 fiscal year and yet they still insist that they need to lay off 58 full-time faculty,” AFT 2121 Vice President Mary Bravewoman said. “That includes 161 part-time faculty and that means over 20,000 educational opportunities that have been taken off the menu for students.”
Directing her comment to the elected trustees, Bravewoman added, “I'm saying it now: the Democratic clubs are paying attention [...] the voters of San Francisco are paying attention and when you vote, you're going to influence how they vote in November.
Several trustee positions will be on the ballot in November.
The union has the support of the San Francisco Democratic Party, SEIU 1021 and the San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council.
On Wednesday, District Four Supervisor Gordon Mar visited and District Nine Supervisor Hillary Ronen and District Seven Supervisor Myrna Melgar were expected to visit in the afternoon, according to a press release.
Two television news outlets covered the camp out as have other media outlets.
City College Trustee Shanell Williams told the San Francisco Standard she couldn’t justify deficit spending as a rationale for supporting the downsizing.
AFT 2121 Executive Director Alayna Fredricks challenged Williams to a debate streamed on social media over the claim, but Williams could not attend.
Fredricks said the administration is choosing to put $7 million into reserve instead of spending it on education. She cited the union's alternative budget that would save all faculty positions while also putting funds into the reserve as mandated by the state and the college’s accrediting agency.
AFT2121, Service Employees International Union 1021 and the Building & Trades Council formed a Revenue Unity Coalition to put a measure on the November ballot to generate more funds for the college.
They’ve presented their vision to Mayor London Breed, who requested more data from the college administration.
State funding may also increase in the next budget.Last week, leaders in the state legislature released a spending plan for 2022-23 that provides schools and community colleges with $24 billion more in unrestricted and ongoing funding than Gov. Newsom forecast in his budget earlier in the year.
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