DASB senator resigns amid allegations of racist comments


Screenshots of Messenger and Discord chats with Khoa-Nathan Ngo. They were submitted to the DASB as evidence of “threatening” conduct.

De Anza Student Body senator and presidential candidate Khoa-Nathan Ngo resigned from his position on March 5 after senators alleged “threatening” behavior.

The senators (Luiza Eloy, Sunnie Chen, Yvette Reyes, Esha Dadbhawala and Kaitlyn Pasaylon) alleged that Ngo was “intimidating and provoking others” in the complaint with DASB, which was posted online under the March 10 meeting agenda.

They also accused Ngo of releasing false information about the open Student Concerns Director position and engaging in “racially charged” rhetoric about his opponents in the presidential election.

The senators provided 38 screenshots of Messenger and Discord group chats with Ngo as evidence in the agenda. The names of other users in the chats had been censored and the identity of the screenshotter is undisclosed. 

Some screenshots included comments on another presidential candidate, Anahí Ruvalcaba, and her Latina ethnicity.

One screenshot submitted as evidence of “racially charged” comments

“I dont (sic) ‘put them down because they are a woman of color’ but rather they are unqualified and use their background to conceal that,” read one text from Ngo.

Ruvalcaba told La Voz the comments affected both her campaign and her personally, as it’s already difficult to run as a woman of color.

“(Ngo’s comments are) really disappointing because I am expecting a loss of votes there,” Ruvalcaba said. “He put his coalition under the impression of …. that I was solely just Mexican, vote for me.”

Ruvalcaba said that she speaks about being a Latina because she is proud of her identity and she hopes to diversify the DASB senate.

“Given the De Anza student population is 24% Latino, we thought it would be relevant to mention because there is a crowd out there that we can connect with,”said Ruvalcaba.

Ngo said in an interview that his comments were not “outright racist.”

“I don’t think …  there was anything racially motivated behind it,” Ngo said. “Hence why the senators used very specific language, ‘racially charged,’ because there wasn’t anything direct.”

He added that he made the comments privately, though how public the group chat was is not disclosed.

Khoa-Nathan Ngo

“I definitely wanted to apologize to her, because even though this stuff wasn’t racially charged, it could be described as insulting,” he said.

Yvette Reyes, one of the senators who accused Ngo, said that the comments perpetuate the stereotype that Latino people don’t care about political positions.

“Whether he recognizes it or not, it is offensive,” Reyes said. “It’s not up to him to decide whether or not a comment about their identity and their race is offensive because, at the end of the day, he’s not a part of the Latino community.”

She said that this community is not adequately represented in student government.

“Asian Americans are a large percent of the population at De Anza, but Latinos are a close second,” Reyes said.  “The fact that they’re not engaging in this space means that we’re not welcome in these spaces.”

Ruvalcaba said she wants to create a space in student government where people don’t make comments like Ngo’s.

Anahí Ruvalcaba

“What happens when we have five Latinas in DASB?” she asked. “You think those students who talk that way are going to be comfortable enough to talk? Probably not.”

Ngo said that he is proud of his term as a senator and has no plans of dropping out of the election.

“As DASB president, I think that’s the best possible opportunity for me to prove myself to the school and show my genuine authenticity,” said Ngo.

If Ngo is removed from the election, his votes will go to his running mate for vice president, Fiza Syed.

The DASB election results will be posted March 18, deciding whether Ruvalcaba, Ngo, or Eduardo Ovelar Blanco will be president.

“I’m definitely going to step up and say ‘Hey I went through the fire,’” Ruvalcaba said. “‘I got the backlash. It’s not so bad. You can do it too.’”