"We're going to fight for this college. We're going to save this college."
College of the Sequoias administrators are scrambling for solutions after an accreditation warning that could force the school to close.
A new report shows the school has done little since 2006 to address problems identified by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.
COS now has until October to solve those problems, or else...
It was just over six years ago that the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges issued a warning to COS to run things more efficiently.
The commission says the school hasn't fixed its problems, and now COS has one last chance.
That's when COS has to prove to the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges that its accreditation should be reaffirmed.
If COS doesn't meet that October deadline, the school will lose it's accreditation, meaning thousands of south valley students will be without a junior college to get them to that next step of higher education.
"That divorces us then from the CSU and the UC system and being able to matriculate students into other accredited universities and programs."
That's when the commission cited problems regarding student learning outcomes, institutional efficiency, and faculty work stoppages, on issues critical to the school's operation.
Those problems were not properly addressed over the last six years, and now the commission has issued a warning, leaving COS administrators scrambling to keep the school open.
"You not only have to put together your plan that shows cause for remaining accredited, but simultaneously, just in case you don't measure up, you have to put together a plan that shows how the college will be closed. So that was pretty sobering."
Stan Carrizosa took over as superintendent and president of the 85 year old COS last summer.
He recognizes the school's accreditation problems could sway potential, in-coming students in another direction.
"We don't want you to be worried. We don't want you to feel like we're not going to be here. We're going to take this administration, board and faculty, are going to take whatever steps necessary to become fully compliant and to ensure our accreditation."
COS will now appoint an accreditation task force consisting of faculty and students to address all of the commission's recommendations.
Several other actions were taken by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior colleges.
Among those were reaffirming accreditation for Fresno City and Reedley Colleges.