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City College faces tough road ahead

by Douglas Wong

California’s largest college is on the fringe of closure. The City College of San Francisco has over 80,000 students. FRONT PAGE CCSF.jpgAnd if this does happen, all of them are going to have to find new colleges due to the school’s problem with its accreditation. Accreditation is the school’s ability to give out degrees based on the state’s standards. Pamila Fisher, the interim chancellor, has been under heat by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges to fix the institution’s large budget and structural problems.

 

“City College has suffered in state funding; we get almost all our funding from the state,” said Larry Kamer, CCSF’s spokesman.

The school’s main problem is its budget. CCSF has given raises to the faculty of over 25 percent to have the schools revenue grow by only 10 percent. Not only has the school’s revenue been low, the state budget for education has been cut in all areas for all city colleges. The institution was given warnings by the state to make certain budget cuts needed, but did not make any.

          Not only does this affect incoming and current students at CCSF, but it affects taxpayers such as parents with children in public schools in San Francisco.  CCSF receives funds from the state to be used to stay open. The tax dollars coming in from the families would be used in other places not supporting CCSF and possibly not even into education. Seniors that plan on going to the City College would be left without a college to attend if it is closed.

          “Everyone is trying to make [the closure] not happen. But we are legally required to create closure plans as necessary,” expressed Kamer.

            CCSF has been given the deadline of March 15th to adjust to the changes the Accrediting Commission has placed upon the college. If the college does not make changes by the deadline, it will be forced into the closure process.

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As well as making the March 15 deadline, City College is required to give the Accrediting Commission an action plan by October 15th. Interim chancellor Fisher presented a draft of it on September 27. Although Fisher is under scrutiny, the pressure isn’t completely on her shoulders. Her predecessor, Don Griffin, who resigned in May of this year due to brain cancer, may also be partially to blame for the current mess.

          Not only has City College been reporting to the Accrediting Commission’s audit, but also the Financial Crisis Admission Team sent by the State of California to oversee CCSF during the whole process of getting the institution back onto its feet. On top of the budget concerns, the Financial Crisis Team has shown concern in the schools structure.

          “There are 14 work groups focusing on the recommendations set by the Accrediting Commission, two for finances and the rest for admissions. They are mainly looking at each campus and what can be done [to the school’s structure],” said Kamer.

A senior at Abraham Lincoln High School and a student at CCSF, Thomas Wong, also has shown concern with CCSF’s structure.

“I don’t think their classes and programs for my major are enough for me. It’s not as I would expect college life to be like, I want it to be more professional,” expressed Wong.

          The accreditation process is a routine procedure done every six years by the Accreditation Committee. However, this year CCSF was placed under as “show cause”. The “show cause” label forces colleges to prove to the Committee why they should not be closed.

          “It’s extraordinary that we were placed under ‘show cause’. But we have no intentions of closing the City College of San Francisco,” stated Kamer.

Second Floor fire smokes during homeroom

by Serina Fang

On Thursday, September 6, the blaring of a fire alarm interrupted homeroom. Panel pic.jpgA fire was discovered in the second floor boys bathroom, where smoke billowed out of the bathroom, into the hallway, and nearby classrooms. However, this fire was no mere accident.

            “It’s not an accident,” said Gertrudes “Trudy” the custodian. “There was an intention to set a fire.”

            According to Lance Tagomori, the assistant principal of buildings and grounds who was at the scene the whole time, the bathrooms in the school have little panels on the walls that directly access the plumbing that are supposed to be locked at all times. The perpetrator had opened one of the locked panels, ignited paper towels and stuffed them through the panel and into the pipes. Tagomori believes that the fire had burned long enough to be detected only when a passing security guard smelled the smoke.

            Alex, the security guard who first discovered the fire, said that he was walking with student Michael Sandoval when they smelled the smoke, walked into the bathroom but couldn’t find the flames.

            “We smelled it, but we couldn’t find where it came from. We thought it was somewhere else, near the door,” said Lofi, another security guard who came to the scene.

            It was Sandoval who pointed out the unlocked panel. Alex said, “The panels are so old, the locks don’t work. I saw the flames inside the wall. First, I tried to get a recycling bin to fill with water, but the bin was too big. So I put water in my mouth and started spitting water at the fire.”

            Security guard Rod Palaby was called to bring a fire extinguisher and the fire was finally put out when custodian Trudy quenched it with a hose by the time the firefighters came.

            Because this was an act of arson, the police came after the firefighters to meet with security and look at the cameras. According to Principal Barnaby Payne, it is illegal to put cameras inside a bathroom, so the best way to find suspects is to look at the different time frames and identify people on camera.

            “We do have a ‘fire bug’ at our school,” said Alex. “He was checked, but he was innocent.”

            After multiple interviews with different people, the administration was unable to identify the arsonist.

            This arson would be considered a felony, and the perpetrator would definitely be arrested if caught. School administration is deciding on whether or not to lock the second floor boys bathroom; though Payne is reluctant to do so.

            “I have no desire to punish the whole for the bad decisions of a few,” explains Payne.

            The school’s evacuation procedure went as smoothly as possible during the alarm. When asked about whether or not Lincoln is prepared in the case of an emergency, Tagomori answered with a resounding “Yes!”

            “We are as prepared as we possibly could be,” said Payne. He added, “I’d like to emphasize that in case of an emergency, stay here! Stay where your teachers could keep track of you and organize you better.”

            The fire was relatively small, but Tagomori believes that it was fortunate it happened when there were people around to put it out.

            “It would’ve been devastating if it happened after-hours,” said Tagomori. “It might not be discovered as quickly.”

Spirit week isn't just a week of silliness

by Marie Vega

School can be a ball of stress when it comes to picking out an outfit for the day; but during spirit week you can easily go to school in your pajamas, and you’d fit right in!
     

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Spirit week begins Oct. 1stof this year at Lincoln High School. The crazy outfits and the doppelgangers roaming the halls aren’t just for fun. This one week of ALHS’s school year is not only meant to raise our spirits, but to unify the school body.
        

Each year ALHS decorates its hallways with posters promoting whatever event occurs that day of spirit week. This spirit week consists of PJ day, Twin day, Westside Wednesday, Throwback Thursday, and the infamous Spirit day, where all Lincoln students are encouraged to wear red and gold.
        

The purpose of spirit week, according to the ASB Director of Spirit, Vincent Corea, is that “it’s the onetime of the year where we can all be playful and have fun, not only at lunch and in the halls with our friends, but also during classes.”
        

Participating in spirit week can help students realize that one of the ways to fully be involved at Lincoln is to not only to dress up and participate in rallies, but to join clubs and academies and the rest of the activities ALHS provides.
        

The Bell Game, for instance, is one activity that also encourages school spirit. “Spirit week kind of pumps people up for the game, it helps us get excited” says Maverick Pumaras, a Lincoln junior. “Especially when all you see in the stands is red and gold, it doesn’t just unify the students but also the faculty and Lincoln alumni” says Corea.
       

Spirit week is dedicated to helping our school body become unified as a whole community and to show how much we care about ALHS. Plus it’s always fun to act silly and dress up! 

New hat policy presents positive change

by Jacob Ortega

Rejoice hat-wearing students of Abraham Lincoln High School; the hat policy at school has changed! Hat photo3.JPGThe new policy gives students more freedom to wear hats at school, but it isn't as simple as everyone being able to wear hats without restraint anywhere on campus. But this begs a question: is this change positive for students or not? So far, the answer is yes.

     Here's how the new policy works: students are allowed to wear hats in the hallways. This­ does not include hoods, masks or any other headwear that obscures one's face. Lincoln security guards are allowed to ask students to remove their hat for any reason if they deem it a security concern. Hat usage in classrooms is dependent on the teacher's individual policy; they may allow hats or may not.

     The new policy was decided by a committee of teachers. According to Sara Falls, a teacher on the committee, the decision was, "anything but unanimous." Falls reported that the committee was split on the decision, with some teachers for the use of hats and some against changing the policy. "We in the hat committee were so split that we couldn't come to consensus, so we had to bring it to the staff," she said. An eventual consensus was reached, which is reflected by the policy as it is now.

     Some teachers, like Larry Prager, feel that the policy is sufficient. "At first I was a bit ambivalent toward this new policy," Prager said. "Initially I felt it was kind of a retreat on discipline, but now that it's here it actually seems like an okay idea."

     Tom Edminster, another teacher at Lincoln, wasn't as happy with the change, saying, "I think the current policy is something I can live with. I just think that hats are street culture. I don't think street culture belongs in school.... Most of my colleagues didn't enforce [the old hat policy] because they don't think it's important."