LOS ANGELES, CA – In a letter sent today to Chaffey Community College District President Henry D. Shannon, MALDEF warned that the current at-large system used to elect the five-member Governing Board violates the California Voting Rights Act of 2001 (CVRA) by diluting the Latino vote and preventing Latino voters from electing candidates of their choice to serve on the board.
“Adequate and lawful elections systems result in representation of the community served,” said Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF president and general counsel. “The district should shift to a system that will ensure that the Latino community is fairly represented in college governance.”
The letter follows an investigation by MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) attorneys who found the district’s at-large system has resulted in an underrepresentation of Latino residents on the board.
“Across California, community college and school districts are changing the way they elect their governing boards due to concerns regarding potential violations of the CVRA,” said Matthew Barragan, a staff attorney with MALDEF. “MALDEF is working to ensure that all voices have an equal opportunity to be heard.”
Latinos constitute 46 percent of the citizen voting age population of the district the Chaffey Community College District. Yet, there is currently only one Latina serving on the five-member board.
Other community college districts have faced similar legal challenges in recent years, including Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD), Cerritos Community College District and Santa Clarita Community College District. All three districts have now adopted district-based election systems.
The Chaffey Community College District serves the population of the inland empire of western San Bernardino County, where the communities of Chino, Chino Hills, Fontana, Guasti, Montclair, Mt. Baldy, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga (Alta Loma, Cucamonga, and Etiwanda), and Upland are located.
A copy of the letter sent to the board can be view HERE.