Candidate Name: Aliya Chisti
Phone Number: 415-347-1318
Web site: www.aliyachisti.org
Name of Campaign Manager: Sabreena Khan
How much do you expect to spend in this contest: $30,000
Major Endorsements: AFT 2121, Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club, Latinx Young Democrats, ILWU NCDC, Latinx Young Democrats, Supervisor Sandra Fewer, Supervisor Shamann Walton, Bevan Dufty BART Board Director, Mano Raju Public Defender
Incumbent Board Member whose votes most reflect your values: Ivy Lee
Incumbent whose votes least reflect your values: There are a few votes that the Board as a whole has taken that I do not support such as the class cuts and the administrator salary increase. I would like to work with the Board to find solutions to ensure a thriving college community for our students.
1. What is your stance on resuming in-person classes in the time of COVID? What would be the main basis on which you make this decision? (e.g., would it be based on your gut feelings, or whose advice would you listen to?)
When it comes to resuming in-person classes, I first look to public health experts to understand the safest and most effective approach to in-person learning. Additionally, I will seek input from faculty and staff. Without their input and confidence in resuming in-person classes, we will be unsuccessful. While safety is my top priority, we also need to prioritize support to students and teachers to ensure they have the resources needed to be successful in remote learning or in-person classes. I also think a targeted approach to support our students of color and low-income students, who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 is critical.
2. Why are you running for College Board?
Community colleges are the “people's college” which embraces the idea that higher education should be available to everyone. City College has a central role in expanding educational opportunities for our community. Community colleges serve multiple missions, which include providing academic, vocational, noncredit, enrichment courses to their community and also support local economic development. City College is more important today than ever in the process of achieving social justice and economic equity.
I have over a decade of experience as an educator, working in schools or on policies that impact schools. As a former legislative aide on the Board of Supervisors, I drafted the “Ban the Box” legislation to prohibit the use of criminal-justice information on applications for private colleges in San Francisco, making SF the first in the nation to do so. While pursuing my MA in Education Policy from Columbia University, I served as a student senator and developed a pro-diversity admissions policy. My thesis paper also focused on the burden of student debt. As a Fulbright Scholar in North Macedonia, I served as a ESL teacher and also drafted a policy paper analyzing the failure of top-down approaches in advancing higher education reform. Currently, I oversee the Free City College Program at the Department of Children Youth and Their Families and led the successful execution of the ten-year MOU for the Free City Program.
3. How are you currently involved in the Community College -- or how were you involved in the past?
Currently, I oversee the Free City College Program at the Department of Children Youth and Their Families and led the successful execution of the ten-year MOU for the Free City Program. I conduct fiscal and programmatic oversight for the $160million dollar program and also drafted language to include stronger reporting requirements and disaggregated data. In this capacity, I reviewed the state funding formula, analyzed the role of state and federal aid in relation to community colleges, and researched legislation at the state level that impact community college students.
4. What is your stance on public and private partnerships within the College?
City college is a unionized college and will always remain that way, I will not support privatization of our college and will not support any contracts that take away union jobs. Public and private partnerships for the purpose of bringing in additional resources such as helping students secure jobs is important and I would collaborate with our faculty and staff to review the potential of these strategic partnerships.
5. What is your position on Free City College? How should it be changed, if at all?
As the Lead Analyst for the Free City College Program at DCYF, I am deeply committed to ensuring the successful execution of this program. My primary goal in this role has been to cultivate and build this partnership with City College. Since Free City is the first real direct partnership between the City and CCSF, I serve as a bridge between these two large bureaucracies. My policy experience equips me to defending City College by translating to city partners how the funding formula works and some of its negative consequences, explaining how AB 19 is implemented to break down common misconceptions, and raising awareness of integral programs at CCSF meeting student needs, such as the food pantry.
Free City has improved enrollment at CCSF, and has pushed us to think critically about how we ensure access to higher education for our entire community. While it is a critical first step to breaking cost barriers, Free City does not address the total cost of attendance for students. I would like to see how we can expand the program to cover additional costs for our low-income students. Additionally, we can improve the program by expanding access to Free City for undoumented and homeless students that do not meet residency requirements.
6. If elected to the Board, how would you ensure that you and the public would receive the college's draft budget with sufficient time to review it thoroughly before adopting it?
Any budget that comes to me without sufficient review will be dead on arrival. My platform includes an aggressive agenda for transparency and accountability in the budget process. I will work to bring in an independent controller to analyze and assess the current state of the budget and to ensure there are strong checks and balances in place in the budget process. This will help inform the trustees and the broader public in the current budget priorities so that we can make informed decisions. I will use my policy training to communicate implications and help inform the public about the various aspects of the budget, ensure information is accessible in multiple languages, and in multiple formats.
7. What is your position on selling campus properties?
We must keep city college properties public and I do not support selling campus properties or downsizing our college. As a Trustee, I will work with our labor partners, faculty, and student leadership to develop an extensive community engagement process to ensure that our campuses are most welcoming, responsive and relevant to what the community and neighborhood need. I will also make sure that these spaces are not underutilized and serve CCSF's open-access mission.
8. Do you feel there is enough transparency or public disclosure of the Board and the college? How would you change things?
A lack of transparency in decision-making processes is a serious issue at CCSF. The CCSF Board of Trustees must be a vehicle for transparency. After the 2012 accreditation crisis, trust was broken at CCSF and this was further eroded by Chancellor Rocha. The Board can bring greater transparency to their work, engage students and faculty in the decision-making process; and ensure meetings are accessible to all who want to attend with flexible meeting times, office hours, and through the use of virtual tools.
Additionally, The CCSF Board of Trustees must also hold the administration accountable for providing a transparent and accessible budget process. Budgets must be presented in user-friendly methods that can display longitudinal trends over time and provide scenario analysis.
9. Have you attended the Community College Board meeting? Would you change public comment policy at the meetings? If so, how?
Yes, I have attended several Board meetings. I think there are too many closed sessions at every meeting, which hinders transparency. I also think that it is unacceptable that important decisions are made sometimes at 1am at night, which was reflected through the “midnight massacre” when classes were slashed without proper consultation from faculty, students, or department chairs. Additionally, there have been issues with the audio/visual recordings for the meetings, which I work with students and staff to address. Finally, I think social media should be used to promote meetings and to make the meetings more accessible than on the website, where it is difficult to access information.
10. How will you increase quality child care at ALL campuses?
To expand access to child care for CCSF students and faculty, we should ensure child care facilities are developed and expanded across all campuses. The $845 million dollar bond will provide much needed resources to retrofit all campuses with high quality childcare facilities. We can partner with the Child Development and Families Studies Department to recruit staff and provide hands-on learning opportunities for early educators and ensure that they are paid fairly.
11. How will you work to counter and prevent profiling and police harassment on campus? What is your position on police firearms on Campus?
I do not support armed police on CCSF campus. I support the social emotional needs of students and investing in people. Specificlaly, investing in social workers, counselors, and restorative justice programming will reduce the need to criminalize students. As we are working to reduce police presence on campus, we must ensure all offices are required to participate in racial sensitivity, anti-bias, and de-escalation training. We must also collect data on police interactions and hold officers accountable for complaints and excessive use of power.
12. What is your position on allowing noncitizens the right to vote for College Board and other local elections? Did you take a public position on previous ballot initiatives on the subject?
In 2016, I supported Proposition N, which allowed non-citizens the right to vote in San Francisco school board elections. I support expansion of voting rights to all San Franciscans for College Board and other local elections. All residents of San Francisco should have a say in our democracy, regardless of their legal status.
13. What are your views of transportation and pedestrian safety to, from and around City College campuses? What, if anything, would you change, and how would you go about making those changes?
Moving towards a car-free future is important for our environment and overall public safety, and will help our city move closer to the Vision Zero goal. As part of this mission, I plan to:
1. Advocate for a Student Passport Program, which will serve as a means for our students to access free muni and bart. This will address the total cost of attendance for students, while also promoting the use of public transportation.
2. Increase the use of bicycles by fighting for more safe and devoted bike routes to, from, and between CCSF campuses; increasing bike rack access; and working to develop a bike loan program.
3. Advocate for a shuttle from Balboa Bart Station.
These initiatives should be coupled with a public education campaign to inform students of the resources and to promote the various environmental and economic benefits of using eco-friendly commuter options. I will also take into account transportation justice measures. It is important that marginalized students coming from different parts of the city are able to access the campus using public transportation, since the K and M lines close to the Ocean campus usually have significant delays. I will also make sure that seniors and those with disabilities are able to access the campus easily.
14. What is your position of military recruiting on campus?
I am concerned about military recruiting on campus. However, when it comes to military recruiters on campus, we must have strict oversight and accountability. We should limit visits and have access to demographic breakdowns of recruits, and create a mechanism for students to file complaints against inappropriate or misleading practices.
15. What criteria will you use in deciding whether new cell phone antennas will be installed on top of City College buildings?
I do not support the installation of antennas because of public health concerns. The most important criteria is ensuring that there are no negative health impacts to our college community. I will also seek assurances that installation is done sustainably and in compliance with facilities design and construction standards, as well as the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and does not have any negative health impacts.