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Motion to remove DASB president fails

June 12, 2016


DASB president Matthew Zarate

The student senate failed to garner enough votes in an attempt to remove DASB President Matthew Zarate during a heated, nearly five-hour-long meeting on Wednesday, June 8.

Even though the majority of senators (13 out of 21) voted for Zarate’s unseating, the motion failed as it did not reach the two-thirds majority needed to pass.

Zarate was accused, among other things, of ignoring individual senators, disregarding their objections during meetings and not following parliamentary procedures.

“People wanted to object,”said DASB Vice President Stephanie Marie Rigsby, “and they were silenced in this room.”

Rigsby said that Zarate’s “ lack of accountability, lack of communication and lack of honesty” is what concerns her the most.


Zarate repudiated all accusations and repeatedly emphasized his focus on solving problems such as recovering the stolen $14,000 taken from the DASB account.

“When I went to this position, I knew I would be able to support the students of this college, and this is what I was trying my best to do,” Zarate said.

One of the most discussed accusations Zarate faced was his failure to communicate with other senators. As evidence, senators presented screenshots of text messages and Facebook group chats where they said they saw Zarate’s disregard for his fellow senators.

Student Trustee Elias Kamal, 18, political science major, said Zarate blocked him on social networking accounts and ignored him in person.

“Even though student trustee and DASB president are supposed to work closely, I haven’t spoken with (Zarate) for three months,” he said.


Rigsby said that instead of uniting the senate and representing its voice as a whole, Zarate separates its members and makes some of them feel disregarded. Kamal said he agrees with Rigsby.

“One-third of the senate wants to resign because of you,” Kamal said.

Zarate said that he was brought up with the idea that to be a leader, one needs to be assertive, and this is what he was doing throughout his life.

“I failed in making an emotional one-on-one connection,” Zarate said, “and I’m willing to change it.”

One of Zarate’s supporters, Jeremy Figuerra, 22, industrial design major, pressured senators into giving Zarate another chance and to help him learn how to become a better leader.

“If Matthew is the only one who is learning,” asked Thao Le, 19, liberal arts major, “what about all the students who he victimizes?”

Le said Zarate used grassroots and social justice communities on campus, carrying their slogans for his campaign as president, and then deserted those values after he won.

Rigsby said she didn’t see any sign of improvement in Zarate’s behavior over time, even after her continual attempts to help him.
Regardless of unanimity of Zarate’s opposers, several senators such as Tutantra Tanu and Faiz Mujadid, 18, business major, said that they didn’t expect to have a discussion on Zarate’s removal.

“We didn’t know what was going on,” Tanu said.

In Zarate’s support, Mujadid also pointed out his president’s friendliness and supportiveness.

Vincent Gomez, 19, liberal arts major, advised Zarate’s supporters to separate personal relationship from professional, saying that being a “nice guy” is not enough to be a good president.

After the voting results were revealed, Zarate said he respects the choices of all senators, regardless of whether they voted for or against his removal.

“As a president,” Zarate said, “I know that I can do a change, be a change for the students on this campus.”

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