Proposal Heats Up to Merge City College of San Francisco

An intriguing and somewhat radical idea is coming together around one of the nation's most embattled community colleges.

By Jamilah King Aug 07, 2013

There have been many opinions on how to deal with City College of San Francisco’s impending loss of accreditation. The college, which serves more than 90,000 students, has been beset by political woes and fiscal mismanagement. One idea that seems to be picking up steam is to merge the school with neaby San Francisco State University, creating something akin to City University of San Francisco. 

The idea’s been floating around Bay Area news outlets this week and was formally introduced at an Open Forum at the school on Monday. While City College stands to lose its accredition next July, San Francsico State’s accreditation was just renewed for another ten years.

Robert Shireman works as the executive director of California Competes and is a former Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of Eduaction. He recently wrote the following at the San Francisco Chronicle, which was adapted by the Huffington Post:

San Francisco State is not a stuffy, ivory tower university incompatible with the grassroots nature of a community college. Much to the contrary, San Francisco State was praised by its accrediting agency for its commitment to social justice and civic engagement, representing "the gold standard" for an urban university, "not merely aspiring to be responsive to diversity but embracing it wholeheartedly as the intellectual and civic lifeblood of the university."

San Francisco State and City College already serve many of the same students and offer similar programs. More than 80 percent of the City College students who transfer to the California State University system go to San Francisco State. In addition to traditional academic courses, the university extension offers hundreds of courses in adult education and job training. And San Francisco State long ago committed itself to serving all comers with its Open University program, inviting anyone to enroll in its courses.

It’s an intriguing and somewhat radical idea. Still, there’s a monumental fight being waged to save City College of San Francisco in its current form as shown in this video in which faculty and staff sat down at the bargaining table with CCSF administrators this week.