John Trasviña, assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, will visit Hobart and William Smith Colleges on Wednesday, Feb. 6. The visit is sponsored by the Hobart Dean’s Office and the HWS Office of Intercultural Affairs, in partnership with the Geneva Human Rights Commission (GHRC).
As this year’s John Henry Hobart Fellow in Residence, Trasviña will meet with several student groups to discuss fair housing law and litigation. In addition, he’ll join Geneva City officials, community leaders and fair housing activists for a Fair Housing Roundtable discussion from 2 – 4:30 p.m. in the HWS Executive Conference Room, located at 22 Seneca Street in Geneva.
HWS and Geneva community members are also invited to attend a dinner reception with Trasviña from 5 – 6:30 p.m. in Common Room of the Scandling Campus Center.
Trasviña was nominated by President Barack Obama to be assistant secretary on April 20, 2009, and confirmed unanimously by the U.S. Senate on May 1, 2009. The Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity administers and enforces federal laws and establishes policies that make sure all Americans have equal access to the housing of their choice.
Before joining the Obama administration, Trasviña served as president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF). There he led the law firm for the Latino community by advancing litigation and public policy in the areas of civil rights, immigration, education and related issues.
Trasviña began his career at MALDEF in Washington, D.C., as a legislative attorney in 1985. He later worked for U.S. Senator Paul Simon as general counsel and staff director for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution. In 1997, President Bill Clinton appointed Trasviña as special counsel for immigration related unfair employment practices. As special counsel until 2001, he led the only federal government office devoted solely to immigrant workplace rights and was the highest ranking Latino attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice.
After returning to California, Trasviña taught immigration law at Stanford Law School and was director of the Discrimination Research Center at Berkeley. Previously, he was a member of the San Francisco Elections Commission, president of the Harvard Club of San Francisco, and a board member of the La Raza Lawyers Association, Latino Issues Forum, Campaign for College Opportunity, Lowell High School Alumni Association, and Pacific Coast Immigration Museum.
Trasviña is a graduate of Harvard University and Stanford Law School.