Students and faculty at City College of San Francisco staged an emergency protest today (Fri/24) after discovering that a generous salary increase had been proposed for top administrators and was headed to the desk of Special Trustee Bob Agrella for approval.
Since he was appointed and infused with the voting power of the full board of trustees in the wake of CCSF’s threatened loss of accreditation, which the Guardian has covered extensively, Agrella can unilaterally decide on such matters.
But just as word of the proposed pay increase got out and angry protesters gathered to oppose it, Agrella announced that the item would be withdrawn from the action agenda.
The recommendation was to increase salary ranges for the college’s Associate Vice Chancellor, Chief Information Technology Officer, and Vice Chancellor by a generous 19.25 percent, "based on the positions' level of responsibilities and duties."
“This is absolutely outrageous,” said faculty union president Alisa Messer. “We have students being pushed out of classes, instructors losing jobs, and faculty are still 4 percent below 2007 level salaries. Giving 20 percent raises to the one per centers around here? This college administration’s priorities are upside down.”
Ona Keller, an organizer with the faculty union, said some classes had already been cancelled due to low enrollment. “Agrella came out and said it was a mistake,” Keller said. “I think it was because there were so many people contacting him.” She said roughly 100 protesters had turned out on campus between 2:30 and 3:30.
Student trustee Shanell Williams sounded a similar note. "The students aren't making a San Francisco minimum wage. … Everyone at the college is suffering. This is outrageous."
City College’s communications director, Peter Anning, said he’d first learned of the proposal from a reporter. Seems that was right around the time protesters and news vans turned up outside.
Anning insisted that the proposal had not originated with Agrella and that the special trustee had not even seen it prior to the alerts going out that he would approve it.
The agenda went out Thu/23 around 5:30pm, Anning said, with the deadline for community input set for 24 hours later, at which point Agrella would make a final decision. “When Bob received it and saw it, he withdrew it,” according to Anning.
However, the proposal seems to have been tabled for future consideration. Anning said he did not know whether Agrella had been holding any prior conversations about the proposed salary range increases before the recommendation found its way onto the action agenda.
Anning said the proposal originated with City College Associate Vice Chancellor of Human Resources Clara Starr. We called Starr’s office to find out more, but her assistant told us she was taking the day off.