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Rally calls for funding to stop City College layoffs, cuts

With layoffs set to affect about 65 percent of City College of San Francisco faculty, dozens of students and staff joined a virtual rally on Monday to call for city legislation that could provide emergency funding needed to stop the cuts.

The cuts were first announced in February, when the college Board of Trustees approved eliminating more than half of CCSF faculty, citing low enrollment, the need to maintain accreditation and to balance the budget amid a shortfall projected at $33 million.

According to the American Federation of Teachers union 2121, which represents City College faculty, the layoffs would affect instructors, counselors and librarians, putting departments such as nursing, English, English as a Second Language, computer science, biology and automotive, among several others, at risk of losing faculty.

So far, 163 tenured and tenure-track faculty and 425 part-time faculty have been notified of potential layoffs. Final layoff notices could come as early as May 15.

AFT 2121 is calling for the city’s Board of Supervisors to expand the Workforce Economic Recovery Fund, also known as WERF — an ordinance passed in November that provided $500,000 to support City College workforce development programs — to help the college weather the current upcoming cuts.

Although both supervisors Hillary Ronen and Gordon Mar have expressed support for the emergency funding, a proposal has yet to be put forth.

Shaw San Liu, executive director with the Chinese Progressive Association based in Chinatown, said:

“Today, we have a really simple message: in a city of millionaires, in a city of affluence and that sees itself as a leader in the nation on so many fronts, for truly just recovery and for communities of color and immigrant communities to not be left behind. To have a future in San Francisco, we must expand City College, not reduce it and we urge the Board of Supervisors to vote yes on the Expansion Workforce Recovery Fund.”

Liu added:

“Hundreds of our (CPA) members, through City College’s ESL and vocational training program, have been able to obtain stable employment in child development, in hospitality, and in custodial work,” she said. “We see what’s going with the threatened cuts to City College as a huge contradiction to what our communities actually need right now.”

Women’s and Gender Studies Department professor Adele Failes-Carpenter said:

“City College is an essential resource for San Francisco’s immigrants, low-income residents, and communities of color. It really is a resource for helping San Franciscans stay in this city — a rapidly gentrifying city — by getting the training they need for higher paying jobs. And so, we should be looking in a city as wealthy as San Francisco to expand those opportunities, not cutting them in half.”

Failes-Carpenter said:

“At this point, we are cutting fully enrolled classes and programs. We are already at the point where we cannot meet the enrollment demands and needs of this city and we need city leadership to step in and to step up.”

AFT 2121 is planning to hold a rally and march outside of San Francisco City Hall this Saturday at 11 a.m. to further advocate for emergency funding.

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