SAN FRANCISCO—Students and Staff at City College on San Francisco’s Mission Campus have been raising concerns over inadequate heating in many of the campus’s classrooms. 

The coldest classroom on the Mission Campus is on the third floor where temperatures get as low as 42 degrees. Staff explained that the campus is a relatively new building that was established around 2010. According to some instructors the heating in classrooms hasn’t worked for at least a year.

Malaika Finkelstein is one of the instructors who’s been keeping a blog of the cold classroom concerns. She told NBC that three campuses are affected and instead of giving a clear timeline on when the building’s heat will be fixed, administrators have focused on other solutions like distributing hand warmers and providing space heaters.

Fred Glass, who has been an instructor at the college’s Labor and Community Studies Department since 1987, spoke to The San Francisco News in an interview explaining that the space heaters provided by administration do not affect the temperature in the classroom significantly. He was provided a second heater and discovered that if he kept it on for about an hour and a half, it would raise the temperature from 55 to 59 degrees. “55 degrees inside of a classroom is not an ideal temperature for teaching and learning to take place,” Glass explained.  

“I warned my students about this before the class started and two of them immediately dropped out. One said that she had been in classrooms that cold before and got sick. Another one said they are immunocompromised and they don’t wanna take the risk.” For the remaining 27 students they are, “hanging in there but they wear several layers,” Glass said. 

During Covid Glass was teaching remotely so the issue of inadequate heating wasn’t so much of a concern he explained. “When I returned to the classroom a few days before the Spring Semester,  I saw that it hadn’t been cleaned probably since the beginning of Covid and I found there was no heat in the room. Then I found that there was no heat in the building,” Glass told The San Francisco News, “I heard we were not likely to get heat all semester and I teach at night.”

“I think there is a bigger picture here. Community colleges in California are the biggest higher education institutions in the country. We serve more students than any other state. It’s the gateway to higher education for low-income and working class students. We want it to be a welcoming environment. This is not a welcoming environment,” Glass explained that the lack of proper heating and clean classrooms are a result of severe underfunding. 

According to research, classroom temperatures should be between 68 and 75 degrees during the winter and 73 and 79 degrees during the summer months. In residential housing, lack of heat is a city emergency code violation. 

Staff is hoping that this issue will be fixed by the summer.