AB 1397, as amended, Ting. Community colleges: California Community Colleges Fair Accreditation Act of 2015.
Existing law establishes the California Community Colleges, under the administration of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges, as one of the segments of public postsecondary education in this state. Existing law specifies the duties of the board of governors, including, among other duties, establishing minimum standards for the formation of community colleges and districts. Under existing regulatory authority, the board of governors requires each community college to be accredited. Existing law requires the accrediting agency for the community colleges to report to the appropriate policy and budget subcommittees of the Legislature upon the issuance of a decision that affects the accreditation status of a community college and to report, on a biannual basis, any accreditation policy changes that affect the accreditation process or status for a community college.
This bill would enact the California Community Colleges Fair Accreditation Act of 2015. The act would require that
begin delete at least 50%end delete of each visiting accreditation team from the accrediting agency for the California Community Colleges be composed of academics, as defined. The bill would prohibit persons with begin delete a conflictend delete of interest, as defined, from serving on a visiting accreditation team.
The bill would require the accrediting agency to conduct the meetings of its decisionmaking body to ensure the ability of members of the public to attend those meetings. The bill would require the accrediting agency to preserve all documents generated during an accreditation-related review, as specified. The bill would require the agency’s accreditation-related decisions to be based on written, published standards in accordance with state and federal statutes and regulations, as specified.
The bill would authorize an institution to
begin delete fileend delete an appeal of a decision by the accrediting begin delete agency. The bill would provide that the appeal would be heard by a panel appointed by the Chancellor of the California Community Colleges.end delete
Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: no.
The people of the State of California do enact as follows:
Article 8 (commencing with Section 72800) is
2added to Chapter 6 of Part 45 of Division 7 of Title 3 of the 3Education Code, to read:
begin delete(1)end delete begin delete end delete begin deleteThis section end deleteshall be known, and
8may be cited, as the California Community Colleges Fair
9Accreditation Act of 2015.
As used in this article:
15 “Academic” means a person who is currently, or has recently,
16directly engaged in a significant manner in postsecondary teaching
19 “Agency” means the accrediting agency for the California
22 “Near relative” means a spouse, including a registered
23domestic partner, child, parent, sibling, person in an in-law
24relationship, or a step relative in one of the relationships referenced
25in this subparagraph.
begin deleteNo less than 50 percent of each end deletevisiting
33accreditation team sent out by the agency shall be composed of
35(2) No person may serve on a visiting accreditation
38team who has a conflict of interest. For the purposes of this
39paragraph, a conflict of interest is determined by any circumstance
40in which an individual’s capacity to make an impartial or unbiased
P4 1accreditation recommendation may be
begin delete affected byend delete any of the following:
3(A) Prior, current, or anticipated affiliation with the institution
6 Paid service in any capacity to the institution under review.
8 Serving as, or having a near relative serving as, a current
9member, staff member or consultant of the agency’s
12 Serving as, or having a near relative serving as, a current
13member, staff member or consultant of the institution’s governing
15(3) A prospective member of a visiting accreditation team shall
16submit an appropriate disclosure form to the agency, declaring
begin delete under penalty of perjuryend delete that he or she does not violate the visiting
18team conflict-of-interest criteria in paragraph (2). Copies of these
19forms shall be provided to the institution under review.
20(4) Every member of the agency’s decisionmaking body and
21staff shall annually file a form that identifies all sources of earnings
22that derive from the field of education, or from entities that perform
23services for any community college located in California, or from
24organizations that engage in any lobbying or representational
25activities for California community colleges.
27 (1) The agency shall conduct its meetings so as to ensure
28that those members of the public who desire to appear at agency meetings have an opportunity to attend those
31(2) A sufficient length of time shall be allowed for public
32comment at agency meetings, and no agency action related to an
33institution’s accreditation shall be made prior to the decisionmaking
34body’s taking of public comment.
35(3) The agency shall make an accreditation decision by a vote
36of its decisionmaking
begin delete body in a public meeting. The vote of each shall be recorded and posted to the agency’s Internet Web
37member of the decisionmaking bodyend delete
39site. Minutes from the meetings of the
P5 1decisionmaking body of the agency shall be recorded and posted
2to the agency’s Internet Web site.
3(4) Any officer or employee of the agency with an actual or
4appearance of a conflict of interest shall be disqualified from
5participating in discussion and voting. For
begin delete theend delete purposes of this
6clause, a conflict of interest
begin delete shall be defined as anyend delete of the following:
10(A) Prior, current, or anticipated affiliation with the institution
13 Paid service in any capacity to the institution under review.
15 Serving as, or having a near relative serving as, a current
16member, staff member, or consultant of the institution’s governing
19 The agency shall preserve all documents generated during
20an accreditation-related review, including, but not necessarily
21limited to, email correspondence, for no less than 36 months after
22the completion of an accreditation-related review. All reports,
23evaluations, recommendations, and decision documents generated
24during an accreditation-related review shall be retained indefinitely.
25(e) (1)end delete
26 The agency’s accreditation-related
decisions shall be based
27on written, published standards, and shall be in accordance with,
28and not be inconsistent with, state and federal statutes and
30(2) The agency shall afford appropriate deference to the
31activities or operations of the institution under review that are
32consistent with the requirements of the state law.
34 No revision shall be made by the agency to a proposed
35visiting accreditation team report unless the revision is shared with
36 the members of the visiting accreditation team and with the
37institution under review, and each is afforded an opportunity to
38comment on the revision.
P6 1 (1) A community college or a community college district
2shall be given advance notice of proposed visiting accreditation
3team reports, so that the college or district may respond to correct
4factual errors or dissent from conclusions. The institution under
5review shall be afforded adequate time to review the reports before
6a meeting of the agency’s decisionmaking body at which a decision
7relating to the institution’s accreditation is to be made, which shall
8be no less than six weeks before the meeting. The institution under
9review may respond to these reports in writing, orally at the
10meeting, or in both of those ways.
11(2) Any visiting accrediting team recommendation for action
12shall be shared with the institution under review at least six weeks
13before a meeting of the agency’s decisionmaking body, so that the
14institution may decide whether and how to respond to the
15recommendation. Any recommendation for action made to the
16agency’s decisionmaking body by a person employed by or
17representing the agency, including its staff, agents, and employees,
18shall be shared with the institution subject to the recommendation
19at least six weeks before a meeting of the agency’s decisionmaking
20body relating to the recommendation.
22 (1) The agency shall have a written policy, consistent with
23federal law, that does both of the following:
24(A) Identifies a period for an institution to correct any
25deficiencies that have prevented the institution from receiving full
27 (B) Provides criteria for altering that period.
28(2) The policy adopted under paragraph (1) shall be published,
29and shall provide a process through which an institution may
30submit applications for an extension, even if a decision has
31expressly denied such an extension. An application for an
32extension, and the decision of the agency as to the application,
33shall be made publicly available.
35Whenever the agency’s decisionmaking body issues a
36sanction of probation or a more serious sanction, the institution
37subject to the sanction shall be given written notice of the alleged
38sanctionable offenses or deficiencies. The institution shall be
39afforded an opportunity to submit an appeal of the decision to issue
P7 1the sanction.
begin delete The burden of proof for the agency to issue the
2sanction shall rest with the agency.end delete
3(j) An appeal pursuant to subdivision (i) shall be heard by a
4panel appointed by the chancellor. An institution filing an appeal
5has the right to file an application to present new or additional
6evidence to the panel. The panel shall, in its discretion, determine
7whether to accept the new or additional evidence.