In the last year, a little-known panel of educators has been denounced by state lawmakers, sued by San Francisco’s city attorney and faulted by the federal government for violating its own policies.
Critics have called the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges tyrannical, vindictive and out of control.
The catalyst was the agency’s move last summer to withdraw accreditation from City College of San Francisco. What is typically a sober administrative process thrust the Novato, Calif.-based panel into the middle of a national debate over whether agencies that are intended to hold colleges and universities to high standards themselves need more oversight.
The accrediting panel has handed out a huge number of sanctions — far more than other regional agencies in the rest of the country. Administrators and faculty up and down the state say the group demands far too much from colleges and relies far too little on students’ academic progress.