Skip to Site Navigation | Skip to Local Navigation | Skip to Content



CHAC: Cabrillo Hispanic Affairs Council


Historia / History


El comienzo/The Beginning

    Prior to the establishment of CHAC in 1981, the Latino Affairs Council existed in the 1970’s. In 1974, Latinos on campus gained significant visibility with a sit-in strike by students in which they demanded that the administration higher a Latina/o for an opening as an affirmative action officer. The students and their supporters around the campus ultimately succeeded in their efforts and the event stands as a defining moment. Afterwards members of the greater community and Rudy Ortega, a founding member of CHAC, brought a law suit from which a court monitored affirmative action plan was put into place. Not only had the issue of Latina/o representation on campus been brought forward in a dramatic way, but the administration was compelled to deal more forcefully on behalf of its Latino constituency.  The need for greater representation became imperative among Latina/o faculty, staff, and students and it lead to informal meetings that culminated in the creation of the Cabrillo Hispanic Affairs Council (CHAC) in 1981.  CHAC developed into an organization on campus that advocated directly on behalf of Latino students, faculty, and staff.  In 1986, CHAC became institutionally recognized within the College’s governance structure as a standing committee and met regularly with the college president each year. 


Nuestro impacto/ Our Influence

    CHAC’s influence on Cabrillo College instruction has been significant.  The organization helped with the development of the Bilingual/Bicultural Studies Program (BBS), which originally focused on bilingual education and later expanded to linguistic minority issues in other disciplines. CHAC also helped develop all course proposals with Latina/o content, such as: Art History 19 (Art of the Americas); Art History 52 (Latin American Art); BBS 32 (Issues of Linguistic and Cultural Diversity in Education, History and Politics); BBS 33 (Contemporary Issues in Linguistically and Ethnically Diverse Communities); History 16 (History of Mexico); History 21A (History of the Chicano to 1846); History 21B (History of the Chicano since 1846); History 23 (History of Contemporary Chicano Movements); Psychology 20 (Current Topics-Chicano Psychology); Spanish 39C (Chicano Literature); and Women’s Studies 5 (La Mujer).  These course offerings have since increased owing to a new awareness and to the growing need for these courses.  In the future, CHAC plans to support the development of a Chicano/a-Latino/a Studies Program.


Requisito de estudios multiculturales/Multicultural Studies Requirement

    In addition, CHAC helped lead the effort to successfully institute a Multicultural Studies (3) unit requirement for all Cabrillo College graduates.  Through the efforts of the Multicultural Studies Committee, which included Félix Robles, Alan Lonnberg, Howard Ikemoto, Judith Ortiz-Shushan, Rudy Ortega, Joseph McNeilly, Shirley Flores-Munoz, Rosemarie Greiner, and Annette March, the requirement was approved unanimously in Academic Council on December 13, 1989.  The three CHAC members were Robles, Ortega, and Flores-Munoz.  The purpose of this Multicultural Studies requirement is to provide broader awareness and understanding of the diversity within the College and the community at large.  As the nation moves toward greater racial and ethnic diversity, our graduates should be prepared to engage effectively with these changing demographics. 


Desafios del futuro/Future Challenges

    Nonetheless, challenges abound.  New demographic information, for example, reveals that additional challenges remain for CHAC and the larger Cabrillo community to address.  According to recent data, the enrollment patterns by ethnicity from fall 2001-spring 2005 reveal that the proportion of White students enrolled at Cabrillo declined from 66.3% of the total to 62%, while the proportion of Latino students increased from 22.2% to 25.4%.  Indeed, the College’s 10-year student enrollment projection indicates a population increase of 18,560 by 2015 with Latinos representing approximately 4, 787, which will be 25.8% of total student enrollment. The same data reveals a troubling trend, however.  Accordingly, Latinos are disproportionately enrolled in Cabrillo basic skills classes (200-level).  In spring 2005, for example, Latino students were 25.4% of the college total, but they constituted 42.8% of basic skills enrollees, while White students’ participation in basic skills classes declined.  As of 2004, 45% of the under-five population in Santa Cruz County were Latino, promising a dramatic shift in local demographics in the immediate future.  Given these demographic and educational challenges, CHAC is therefore committed to addressing the continuing needs of Latina/o students and to making certain that they have access to all of the College’s services that will enable them to successfully complete their education and thrive as productive citizens.


El presente/ Our Present State of Affairs

    Today, CHAC remains active and strongly committed to its original goal of addressing the needs of Latino/as on our campus. These goals fall under four principal areas. The first is advocacy in curriculum and program development which includes: encouraging the integration of topics and issues relevant to Latino/as in all disciplines; support for the development of a Chicano/a-Latino/a Studies Program; encouraging greater visibility of Bilingual/Bicultural Studies Program and all other programs supporting Latino/a’s educational goals already on campus; encouraging pedagogical teaching methods that support Latino/a students, including team taught courses with interdisciplinary perspectives; and, supporting study abroad programs in Spanish speaking countries.  The second area is advocacy for the hiring of faculty and staff reflecting the demographics of the Cabrillo student body; and third, the development of a CHAC website to further the organization’s outreach and communication with the campus and surrounding community. Finally, CHAC will work toward raising awareness of local, statewide, and national issues relating to Latino/as by conducting outreach activities, which may include Flex Week workshops, Board of Trustees presentations, letter writing campaigns, etc.


CHAC=Chac, not Chacmool

    In the pantheon of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization in Mesoamerica, “Chac” was, and remains, an important deity and symbol.  In Maya mythology, Chac was the god associated with rain and thunder, and was also significant with regards to rites and observances associated with fertility and agriculture.  Other Maya terms used to refer to Chac include “he who gives food away to other people,” and “he who lights the sky.” Our organization wishes to incorporate the symbolism associated with Chac. We hope that through our efforts, we can help provide the fertile ground—the support and infrastructure necessary for Latina/o students to access higher education. We see our role as public servants working to light the way and to empower students and other community members to take control of their future and accomplish their life’s goals successfully. 

    Cabrillo College Fact Book 2006.



    Was this page helpful?   
Just Report It   Ask Cabrillo   WebAdvisor   Cabrillo Library   Cabrillo Bookstore   Canvas icon   Facebook Icon Twitter Icon YouTube

© 2019 Cabrillo Community College District

Campus Safety | Accessibility | Title IX

Main Campus, 6500 Soquel Drive Aptos CA 95003, 831.479.6100