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Hundreds Of SF City College Students Protest Program Consolidation

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— Hundreds of San Francisco City College students took part in a protest Thursday over the consideration of a cost-cutting plan that would consolidate the school's nine diversity departments.

Among the departments being considered by the Board of Trustees for consolidation are African-American, Asian, Latino, Philippine, Womens and LGBT studies.

Protesters chanted "They say cut back…we say fight back!" from the Ocean Avenue campus, where opponents said the school threatened loss of accreditation is being used as an excuse to get rid of the program.

Labor and Community Studies Chair Bill Shields said such a move would be a huge step backward.

KCBS' Anna Duckworth Reports:

"These are departments that are the result of social movements, the Civil Rights Movement and related movements, in the 60s and 70s," Shields said.

Student Inder Garawal worries consolidation would pave the way for the hard fought departments elimination.

"First cutting the budget and then cutting the department chairs will eventually get rid of the Ethnic Studies Department here at City College," said Garawal.

City College had a deficit of nearly $6 million last year and is under threat of losing its accreditation if it doesn't fix its budget issues by June.

Associated Students President Chanelle Williams said attacking diversity should not be considered an answer.

"We just passed some really important measures right? Proposition A and Proposition 30 and so we have some leveraging power and we want to say we need our voices to be heard about our schools."

Another protester said the diversity programs are instrumental in getting student activists politically involved.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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