Bringing national politics once again to the monthly board meeting of the Ventura County Community College District, a trustee insisted that the district's revised affirmative action plan violates the U. S. Constitution.
The new affirmative action plan was rewritten to bring the district up to state and federal standards. It forbids discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and it added disabled people to the list of underrepresented populations that the district should strive to employ and serve.
"My feeling is that we have hiring quotas," trustee Gregory P. Cole said. "I think it violates the 14th Amendment . . . and the spirit and letter of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964."
Declaring that he could never vote for such a policy, Cole added: "I took an oath of office to defend the (U. S.) Constitution and I believe this is unconstitutional."
The plan will not come up for a formal board vote until April, but at Tuesday night's meeting, other trustees said they could not agree with Cole.
"These are not quotas, Dr. Cole, these are targets, and that's the principle of the affirmative action plan," trustee Pete Tafoya said.
Trustee Timothy Hirschberg said that even though he also opposes quotas, he liked the district's policy.
"This has strong language and philosophical statements that put the district on record as against discrimination," he said.