July 14, 2022

Shiloh Johnston, Editor in Chief

Trustee Julina Bonilla, who has served Peralta Community College District (PCCD) for almost eight years, will step down from her position on the governing board after a prolonged absence from the board’s bi-weekly meetings.

In a letter read by Interim Chancellor Jannett Jackson during the July 12 PCCD Board of Trustees meeting,Bonilla announced that she would be resigning from her position as the Area 7 representative on the district’s governing board. 

“After nearly eight years of public service, I am resigning from my position as Peralta Trustee effective August 1st, 2022,” Bonilla wrote. 

“It has been both an honor and privilege to represent such a vibrant community. While I am stepping down from my trustee position, I will continue to focus on my work steeped in social justice, and advancing economic initiatives and policies that uplift BIPOC communities. I am honored to have served Peralta and continue my work in other ways. Thank you for support of my leadership and of the Peralta Colleges.” 

Jackson and members of the board took time during their reports to share their thoughts on Bonilla’s service and her contributions to the Peralta community.Jackson added that the board “will take time to formally recognize her service at a later meeting.”

“Tonight, I just want to thank [Bonilla] personally for her service and dedication to the Peralta colleges, our students, our staff, and our community,” she concluded.

Jackson went on to read Bonilla’s resignation letter before closing her report.

Trustee Nicky González Yuen, who represents Area 4 on the governing board, expressed his feelings over the news of Bonilla’s resignation, commenting on her time as trustee.

“I’m really saddened that Julina resigned. She’s a friend, a colleague; a wise and really courageous trustee,” González Yuen shared.

“She didn’t always line up with any particular group of trustees. She really was an independent thinker and guided the board through some really, really challenging times.”

Board President Cindi Napoli-Abella Reiss shared that prior to running for the board, she watched years of board meeting recordings as part of her research. Reiss explained that Bonilla’s integrity and intelligence during the meetings really spoke to her.

“As Nicky had said, most remarkably [sic] was that she was an independent thinker,” Reiss said.

“The more I got to know her, the more I worked with her, the more I realized that her core was even much more impressive than what I gleaned from the dais , just as a spectator watching,” Reiss explained, adding that “[Bonilla] was absolutely critical to helping this district finally move forward.”

Bonilla’s resignation comes after a prolonged absence from board meetings that dates back to February 22. The trustees approved a resolution on May 24 excusing her absences due to “illness”.

The Citizen reached out to Mark Johnson, PCCD’s Executive Director for Marketing, Communications, and Public Relations, and asked if the resignation was related to Bonilla’s previously reported illness. 

“My understanding is that both Trustee Bonilla’s absence from recent Board meetings and the resignation are health related but I do not have any additional information,” Johnson said.

When asked who would be replacing Bonilla, Johnson referred the Citizen to Board Policy 2110.

The policy governs the process following a vacancy on the board. In the event of a trustee’s resignation, the Board of Trustees is required to either order an election or make a provisional appointment to fill the vacancy within sixty days. 

In the event that a vacancy occurs within four months of the end of term, the Board Policy states that the position is not to be filled.

According to the district’s website, Bonilla’s term is set to end in November. Her resignation goes into effect on August 1, 2022, which falls within the four month period before the end of her term in office.

The Citizen reached out to Reiss and asked how the board was planning to proceed with the current vacancy.

As of publication time, Reiss has not responded to the Citizen’s inquiry.