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Commission That Revoked SF City College's Accreditation Facing Audit

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- The regional panel that decided last month to revoke the accreditation of City College of San Francisco effective next year is now under increased review itself after state legislators Wednesday approved a request to audit the organization.

The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges will be the subject of the audit requested by state Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, a member of the bipartisan Joint Legislative Audit Committee, which approved the request.

The ACCJC 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 to maintain accreditation by addressing recommendations made by the commission and making changes to its governance structure and finances.

However, the accrediting commission has already come under fire from the U.S. Department of Education, which last week issued a letter finding fault with the ACCJC's accrediting process for City College.

The letter mentioned a possible conflict of interest by having the commission's president's husband on an evaluation team for the school, as well as having a lack of faculty members on evaluation teams and providing vague instructions for compliance.

Now comes the pending state audit, which is expected to take about six months to complete.

Beall said in a statement that the audit was necessary because the ACCJC "virtually operates unfettered with little to no oversight, yet its decisions have a direct impact on the world's biggest system of higher education with over 2 million students."

He said, "The public and the Legislature deserves to understand how this commission makes and arrives at decisions that affects the futures of so many Californians."

State Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber, who joined Beall in the audit request, said the commission "has overreached their authority and has not been forthcoming in their decision-making process.

According to Beall's office, members of the ACCJC's evaluating teams were allegedly instructed to destroy documents related to their reviews of community colleges after the commission has recently come under fire.

"Instead of serving the needs of college students, the commission is busy manipulating outdated regulations and shredding documents to prevent their disclosure," Nielsen said.

Representatives with the ACCJC were not immediately available to comment on the pending audit and allegations by the state legislators.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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