Zapardiel accused of threatening Senator Maraiyesa in a Facebook group chat
The Mar. 14 Senate meeting was called to order at 6:16 p.m. in the Mee Room of the Memorial Union. The meeting began with an amendment to the agenda so the senate could swear in Senator Sahiba Kaur. Senators Noah Pearl, Victoria Choi and Internal Affairs Commission Chair Jacob Ganz were absent.
After electing Senator Andre Spinoglio as pro-tempore, the meeting moved into confirmation of the new Academic Affairs Commission (AAC) chair, Naomi Reeley, a fourth-year political science and human development double major. Reeley was confirmed without objection.
The Ethnic and Cultural Affairs Commission chair (ECAC) Rina Singh gave their quarterly report. Singh criticized senators’ past actions and failure to show up for communities of color and called Senator Ricky Zapardiel out specifically after he commended the commission’s work in the past quarter and identified himself as an ally.
“You’ve come to ECAC’s meetings and I thank you for that, but I need to be clear about how I feel and how students of color feel,” Singh said. “I don’t think you respect the work that ECAC does or the work that any commission or person of color at the table has done. Being an ally comes from actions. Allyship is a verb, not just a noun. Allyship means showing up and being there.”
Singh referenced Zapardiel’s past action; he posted a laughing reaction on facebook to an event created to provide space for students to mourn the loss of Stephon Clark and renounce the recent decision not to prosecute the Sacramento police officer who killed him.
Later in public discussion, the issue of Zapardiel’s actions were brought up again. External Affairs Commision Chair Nayzak Wali-Ali called for Zapardiel’s resignation.
“You said we need to hold people on this table to a certain standard and I’m holding you to that standard,” Wali-Ali said.
Singh and Gender and Sexuality Commission Chair Joelle Judeh stood in solidarity with Wali-Ali. Judeh also called for Zapardiel’s resignation.
Zapardiel maintained that the laughing reaction was a mistake. Former ASUCD President Michael Gofman also posted a laughing reaction to the same event. Gofman has not indicated that the reaction was a mistake.
“It’s because of my actions previously that you’re going to dismiss everything I said as a lie,” Zapardiel said. “When my peer showed me what I had done I changed it. I was shocked. I already knew what was going to happen. I knew people were going to call me a racist. I’m not going to sit there and laugh at an event that lets people express themselves. I’m upset that you all fail to believe me. I’m not racist.”
Wali-Ali addressed inconsistencies between Zapardiel’s rhetoric in claiming he wants to be an ally and his inaction.
“I think you need to reevaluate how you’ve been acting as a senator,” Wali-Ali said.
Singh brought up Facebook group messages between Zapardiel and Senator Jumoke Maraiyesa about his action posting a laughing reaction. In response to asking whether Maraiyesa had informed “her constituents,” meaning people of color, about the action being a mistake, Zapardiel appeared to threaten them.
The Facebook message from Zapardiel read, “Be wary of who you trust and what you say to certain people because it comes around sooner or later.”
In light of certain members of the ECAC receiving death threats for their online response to the passing of Officer Natalie Corona, Singh perceived the Facebook message from Zapardiel as a threat. Wali-Ali and Senator Shondreya Landrum agreed that this text was perceived as threatening.
Many spoke in solidarity with Wali-Ali, including Senators Maya Barak, Sean Kumar, Spinoglio and Landrum. Commission chairs also included were Environmental Policy and Planning Chair Alice Beittel, Judeh and Singh. President Justin Hurst spoke in solidarity as well.
“That’s taking what I said completely out of context,” Zapardiel said. “Thank you all for holding me accountable and bringing me into this space to tell me the way I’m doing things aren’t right. I want to acknowledge that and I hear that, and I need to reconsider how I’m acting if this is how people see me.”
Members who ran on the same slate as Zapardiel also spoke out against his actions and words.
“I felt ashamed to be on a slate that was associated with that,” Spinoglio said.
After being prompted by Wali-Ali, Zapardiel finally addressed his threatening comments to Maraiyesa.
“What I said to Jumoke in the group chat was wrong and I should have reworded it in a way that was not threatening,” Zapardiel said. “I didn’t mean to threaten her.”
The senate then brought up old legislation and saw bills #63, #65, #68, #69, #70 and #72. All bills passed without objections.
SB #63 would give senators and ex-officio members two deferments during public discussion.
SB #65 would establish an ASUCD newsletter for senators to keep them informed about campus events and outreach hours.
SB #68 would clarify ASUCD campaign regulations. Candidates may not campaign in residence halls or libraries, but can campaign in the Coffee House.
SB #69 would extend the term limit for interim appointments from one month to cover the remainder of the term the are filling.
SB #70 would create two new student positions for the ASUCD Library Committee.
SB #72 was already passed but changed the amount allocated to purchase a stage from $27,340 to $30,000 to account for state taxes.
The Senate then moved to introduction of new legislation. SB X was introduced. The bill would establish a herbicide free committee on UC Davis’ campus to push UC Davis toward being a fully herbicide free campus. Authored by Beittel, this bill passed without objections.
Written by: Ally Russell — firstname.lastname@example.org