COCAL Updates

Another combined update entry as your fearless (feckless?) NFM blog editor was slacking off in Maine, while Joe was working like crazy, as usual, prior to his departure to Vietnam. Your editor is also a little abashed an how many times she appears in this update.

by Joe Berry
joeberry@iCOCAL logo

COCAL is the Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor, a nearly 20 year old network of contingent activists and their organizations that does a conference (now tri national – USA, CAN, MEX) every other year, usually in August. It also sponsors a listserv, called ADJ-L, and has an International Advisory Committee and a website and Facebook page.


1. ACCJC denies CCSF due process yet again.

2. Former CFT President’s Marty Hittleman’s take on recent ACCJC actions.

August 15, 2015 ACCJC Affirmation of CCSF Decision to Terminate Letter

On August 5, 2015 ACCJC’s Barbara Beno wrote a letter to Susan Lamb, CCSF Interim Chancellor, announcing the Commission’s decision to affirm their earlier decision to remove the accreditation of CCSF. This decision probably surprised no one. ACCJC is now famous for its dismissal of any criticism leveled at it.

The August 5th letter stated that “At a special meeting on July 8, 2015, the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACCJC) met in closed session pursuant to the Injunction Process required by the court’s Statement of Decision and Final Injunction and Judgment, resulting from the lawsuit brought by the San Francisco City Attorney against the ACCJC in the Superior Court of California, County of San Francisco. The Court provided City College of San Francisco (CCSF) an opportunity to opt in to the Injunction Process. After CCSF opted in, the Injunction Process proceeded with the Commission providing CCSF, on April 8, 2015, a Written Report in the form of an Amended 2013 Show Cause Team Report, and CCSF providing the Commission with a Written Response on June 26, 2015.”

“At its meeting of July 8, 2015, the Commission took action to affirm the decision it made in June of 2013 to terminate the accreditation of CCSF. In reaching this decision, the Commission reviewed the Written Report, CCSF’s Written Response, the CCSF record available to the Commission at the time of its meeting June 5-7, 2013, and oral and written comments presented in person to the Commission by yourself, as Interim Chancellor, accompanied by Academic Senate President Lillian Marrujo-Duck, Board of Trustees President Rafael Mandelman, State Special Trustee Guy Lease, and CCSF General Counsel Steve Bruckman.”

“The Commission considered whether, in light of the record before it in the injunction Process, the June 2013 action to terminate should be modified or-affirmed. The Commission determined that the June 2013 action should be affirmed. The Commission’s decision concludes the action required of ACCJC from Judge Karnow’s Final Injunction and Judgment.”

No other explanation was provided as to the reasons the ACCJC had for affirming their earlier decision. No citing of the ways that CCSF failed to satisfy accreditation standards were included. In short, complete silence as to the reasons for the decision to affirm the Commission’s earlier decision were included in this official letter. This is a violation of ACCJC’s own policy and practice regarding such letters to colleges.

Judge Karnow, in his decision in The People vs. ACCJC, ruled that the ACCJC was to go “through the process again, and I want it to do it with the input from the college, that the college is entitled to provide, in an attempt to, in effect, reproduce the situation. I think it is best if they do it in the way that the injunction is currently phrased, which is for the ACCJC to provide the full report and for the college to have a full opportunity to respond to it, only one context, and one occasion, and in one document.” The ACCJC did not do this – it only allowed CCSF to address the 10 items which they had not been able to address at the earlier hearing. It was not a complete hearing as should have happened earlier but was denied the college.  The factual basis for the Commission’s findings were never provided as required by Judge Karnow.

Even though the ACCJC tried to get Karnow to change his decision at their March 27, 2015 appeal hearing, Karnow refused. The judge required the Commission to set forth in detail the factual basis for their findings of standard noncompliance. The ACCJC did not comply with this requirement. ACCJC complained to the judge concerning how much work this would take to do this for the earlier findings but the judge rejected the complaint of the ACCJC. The judge stated that “because the procedure that I am trying to replicate was one that involved notice of everything that might be at issue and the opportunity for the college to respond to everything that was at issue, I think trying to replicate that to the extent we can has some value. It has some value. So there is some benefit here, and I think the burden is relatively minor. So the motion is denied.” The ACCJC followed their rejected plan before the judge rather than following his judgment.

If the full procedure was to be provided to CCSF then the appeal process should also be available. The statement in the letter that “This letter serves as written communication to CCSF concerning the Commission’s decision, and concludes ACCJC’s obligations under the Injunction Process” is not true. CCSF should still have the right to ask for a reconsideration of the decision by the Commission and then an appeal to a panel selected by the Commission (which is supposed to be objective). Of course the first panel chosen to hear the appeal was made up of ACCJC cronies. Hopefully with a new spotlight on the procedure, the ACCJC will not be so biased in their new appointment.

The letter concluded with the statement that “During the pendency of the Injunction Process, CCSF’s Restoration Status continued unabated. The Restoration Process provided CCSF with an evaluation team report and Commission assessment of the College’s compliance with standards as of January 2015.”

Given the past performance of the Commissioners, one wonders if the following statement that“The evaluation team and the Commission believe that CCSF has the ability to resolve deficiencies and meet all the standards during the restoration period” can be relied on to be true or possible in the eyes of the Commissioners. Will CCSF ever be given a hearing on the same basis and criteria as other colleges?

The next steps in the CCSF saga, if no appeal is be made by CCSF, is that “CCSF will next undergo a comprehensive evaluation for reaffirmation of accreditation. A self-evaluation report will be due in August 2016, and an evaluation team will visit the College in October 2016. The Commission will consider the accreditation of CCSF at its January 2017 meeting.”

Of course Beno had to include one of her famous statements that “Professional self-regulation is the responsibility of an accredited college and the accreditor. As a member institution of ACCJC, thank you for agreeing to share in that responsibility.” Of course colleges have had no choice in signing up for ACCJC accreditation. Given recent action by the California Community College Board of Governors, the role of ACCJC as accreditor may change.

Check out the Save CCSF Webpage.

3. And, from AAUP Blog.

4. AFT 2121 gearing up for possible strike action.


1. Corporatization of Canadian universities leave faculty and students on the brink

2. Notes on contingent status in Europe

Adjunct Professors United
Robb Kvasnak
August 7 at 8:03am

I just returned from Europe where I attended the 100th World Congress on Esperanto. It was great! I also read European newspapers. In the German weekly Die Zeit there is a series about the problems of part-time professors and researchers in Germany. Their problems are not much different from ours. But there was an interview with a (snotty) tenure tracked professor from Stanford who encouraged Germany to institute American style adjuncts to “save money” and also to introduce tuition (German universities are free). He went on to say that public unviersities (most German universities are public) were not as good as private universities (I guess like Stanford). What an elitist! And Europeans admire the USA – I wish I could make that snob live the life of an American adjunct. He would quickly change his tune!

3. Job losses at Univ. of Manchester (UK) and threat of growing casualization.


1. Contingent faculty: where money might go in higher education (good quotes from NFM research director Marisa Allison).

2. More on Duquesne U’s (Pittsburgh, PA) resistance to adjunct union and threats to activists; here also;  and here.

3. AFT slams GOP for ties to for-profit colleges.

4. End wage theft of contingent port truckers.

5. Blog on First Things that I sure hope is satirical.

6. Restoring Pell grants for prisoners.

7. FTTT faculty at Eastern Illinois Univ. delay pay raise to save jobs of FT contingents who would have been laid off at last minute. (University Professionals of IL, UPI, IFT/AFT local 4400)  and here.

8. Police union responds to call from Univ of California grads in UAW for disaffiliation from AFL-CIO.

9. NFM blog by Lee Kottner, Professional status, professional pay.

10. Anti-union paper praises loss of FTNTT faculty to proposed bargaining unit at Barnard College (UAW).

11. For-profit Missouri Tech closes and students left in lurch.

12. Judge permits Steve Salaita free speech case against Univ of Illinois to proceed and here.

13. A future for workers: a contribution from Black labor.

14. Adjunct engame (Profology blog).

15. More on Barnard College (NYC) loss of FTNTT from bargaining unit.

16. Another for-profit closes campus and screws students, Ashford U in Clinton, IA.

17. Contingent teachers (no tenure system at all) at a Detroit charter school win right from NLRB hearing officer to include Teach for America teachers in bargaining unit.

18. Not contingent related, but an appeal to all labor leaders from US Labor Against the War (which many of our unions have joined) to support the US/Iran nuclear agreement.

19. SEIU Members for Bernie have petition to Int. Exec. Bd to not endorse early.

20. Fall in love with your job and get ripped off by your boss (good piece that also mentions adjunct faculty as one example).

21. Only the wealthy can afford to write about poverty (mentions adjuncts too) by Barbara Ehrenreich (BTW, does anyone have any links to her?).

22. The teaching workplace, missing the forest for the bathroom stalls.

23. Hall of shame: Jerry Ratcliffe, Temple U.

24. More on Duquesne Univ.

25. Universities that rely on adjuncts pursue profit over academic integrity. (re Duquesne).

26. 28 CA colleges and universities have free speech zones or similar restrictions on free speech on campus (Including famous SF State and UC Berkeley).

27. Why don’t you just quit and get another job? (Lee Kottner of NFM)

28. Adjunct blues song

29. Valdosta State U (GA) cuts over 50 faculty.

30. More on the continuing story of Univ. of Illinois and the Kilgore case among others

This article gives an overview of what has been going on in regard to the resignation of Chancellor Phyllis Wise and the contents of the email that have been made public which involve both my case and that of Steven Salaita.

James Kilgore
Research Scholar
Center for African Studies
University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign)

31. Adjunct survey on evaluation by one of our colleagues
Joshua Sperber
August 10 at 3:52pm

Hello everyone,

I’m a doctoral candidate at the CUNY Graduate Center and also a fellow adjunct. For my dissertation, I’m collecting data on adjuncts’ experiences with and thoughts about student evaluations. If anyone would like to complete this anonymous survey, it would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you very much.

Student Reviews and Adjuncts Survey

32. White denial (well worth a look and lots of lessons for us).

33. Labor for Bernie Update.

34. NFM Works blog featuring Robin Sowards.

35. SUNY Binghamton paying summer adjuncts by the student.

36. WSJ article against tenure (surprise?!) [Not.]

37. Very good article on how we might change how we present our struggle to the public, emphasizing that the majority of faculty are now contingents.

38. Like fast food workers, adjuncts deserve higher pay.

39. More than half of Chicago area universities now have armed police forces.

40. Gauging campus climate for NTT faculty.

41. CTU (Chicago Teachers Union) President Lewis dismissed IL Governor’s “crazy talk.”

42. A baboon in the ivory tower.

43. Economic inequality in academia.

44. Adjunctivitus info graphic.

45. Petition to Duquesne U administration; please sign.

46. Another group of very contingent workers face wage theft and misclassification, strippers.

47. Good article on why we need single payer health insurance even more now, by Lawrence J. Hanley, Pres. of Amalgamated Transit Union.

48. Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth, TX, says what they think is wrong with universities today.

49. New blog on office space and FERPA from NFM’s Lee Kottner.

50. Our contingent colleague and Seattle socialist city council member Kshama Sawant speaking 9/19/15 in Oakland, CA.

51. Workers being turned against workers.

52. Good advice on turning an issue into a campaign.

53. The Neoliberal Arts (from Harpers).

54. Are graduate students workers?

55. Unpredictable schedules: chaotic lives.

56. The Amazonization of everything (meaning the casualization and cheapening of all jobs).

NOTE: As noted previously, your COCAL UPDATES editor (Joe Berry) and his spouse/partner/colleague Helena Worthen, are going to teach labor studies in Viet Nam for the fall 2015 Semester.  Unions in Viet Nam are grappling with how to deal with the influx of foreign (capitalist) direct investment there and the need to build local unions that can effectively fight for workers in this new context.


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