City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed a legal complaint in Superior Court Thursday, asking a judge to block attempt to take away City College of San Francisco’s accreditation.
The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges announced last month that City College would lose its accreditation at the end of July 2014.
The school is appealing the decision and is hoping that by working to address some of the problems cited by the commission it can maintain its accreditation.
The U.S. Department of Education last week issued a letter finding fault with the ACCJC's processes for evaluating the college, citing vague instructions for compliance, a lack of faculty members on evaluation teams and other issues.
Herrera's lawsuit against the ACCJC alleges that the private agency unlawfully allowed its advocacy and political bias to prejudice its evaluation of college accreditation standards.
"The evidence is clear that the ACCJC ignored multiple conflicts of interest, flouted laws, and allowed its political advocacy to color public responsibilities it should frankly never have been given," Herrera said in a prepared statement.
Herrera contends that over a period of months preceding and during the school's evaluation process for re-accreditation, the trustees, faculty and students increasingly found themselves at odds with the ACCJC's aggressive advocacy to push California's community colleges toward a junior college, degree-focused model.
He said the academic agency acted to withdraw accreditation "in retaliation for City College having embraced and advocated a different vision for California's community colleges than the ACCJC itself."
The complaint filed in San Francisco Superior Court concludes that the accrediting commission's multiple conflicts of interest, improper evaluation process and politically motivated decision-making constitute unfair and unlawful business practices under California law.
Herrera’s legal action comes two days after 26 people were detained when they staged a protest inside San Francisco City Hall calling for San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee to join the fight to prevent the loss of accreditation.
Watchdogs are questioning an exclusive agreement between the City of Oakland and a non-profit group, tapped to lead a multi-million dollar project to redevelop the area around the Coliseum BART station.