Monthly Archives: April 2013

Last year I went to the Chemistry Magic Show at Picnic Day since people made such a big deal out of it. I was really unimpressed. The stunts were largely things I had done before or at least seen before, often in a better setting.

There’s a limit to what can be done indoors. Sadly the Chemistry Club and their faculty advisors went past this limit. In a segment where they took torches to hydrogen-filled ballons, one of the light covers from the ceiling was knocked loose. Chemistry 194 has a high ceiling with large light covers, so the cover fell quite a distance before striking several audience members. What did the Chemistry Club then do? They lit up another balloon! They chose to do something they had just demonstrated was not safe for the venue. Lab safety is of supreme importance and it was disappointing and embarrassing to see the Chemistry Club behave in such a way.

Even worse, I heard the faculty advisors telling one of the victims after the show (they didn’t check on all of them right after the incident, only the victims who were related to club members) that they would warn people not to sit in the front row for the next show. I was expecting to hear that they wouldn’t be doing it again! These people are faculty!

I was also disappointed that one of the ‘jokes’ the Chemistry Club used involved a racial slur.  Not cool. The one they used doesn’t carry with it nearly as much troubling history as other slurs, but it undermines calling out the worse ones and alienates potential allies. I didn’t get the names of the offending students as they were all going by (sometimes mispronounced) names of famous scientists.


With all the reminders about Picnic Day streaming in, I’m reminded of what I originally heard about the event. As a first year, it was initially described to me by a long-time Davis resident as some sort of major blight on the city where UC Davis students get drunk and obnoxious starting at 10am and ruin the quality of life for the residents. After hearing this from multiple Davis residents, I was shocked to see so many locals on campus during Picnic Day, enjoying all the festivities to the point of sometimes cutting in line in front of UC Davis students! Campus mostly seemed like a wholesome family-friendly place.

Going off-campus I did see more student-aged groups outside than usual and they were more likely to try to attract attention but they weren’t particularly loud. I was more concerned about the extremely aggressive driving of non-student-aged people in the area who showed very little love for sharrows and law-abiding cyclists. It’s a shame the enhanced safety policies in the zones near campus don’t apply to them. The police are only interested in enforcing the laws on students, not on murderous non-student drivers.

Anyway, perhaps it got worse at night. I had left by then. Still, it wasn’t the 10am-onward public drunkeness spectacular I had been led to believe.

This is the most detailed article on Clayton Garzon’s second bail hearing I read:

Reading it, I got to thinking not only of the horrible crime against Mikey Partida, but of a recurring theme I experience in Davis — the apathy of the majority with respect to hateful incidents against minority groups.

Clayton Garzon’s attorney, Linda Parisi, argues that the court should be lenient because Clayton Garzon has “voluntarilty on his own” joined a program to combat alcohol abuse. I do question how non-coerced this was. Despite Linda Parisi’s use of redundancy in addressing how Clayton Garzon did this on his own accord (“voluntarily” and “on his own”), I wonder if it was instead suggested by a family member or Linda Parisi herself.

Worse yet, Linda Parisi, again argues that homophobic slurs being yelled at someone while they are being beaten to a pulp are “not necessarily an expression of hate” and instead a “casual use of slang terms”. It’s really sad how much Davis residents shrug off derogatory language as no big deal, especially when it is one of their own. I will be very disheartened if this line of attack is bought by a local jury.

I’ve seen this behavior before from Davis residents with regards to racist and anti-semitic remarks and graffiti. Every time someone spray paints a new swastika, people like Elaine Roberts Musser and Alan Miller are on the Davis Vanguard arguing that it’s not a big deal, it’s just for attention, it’s just a little prank and how it shouldn’t be published because all it does it make the town look bad. Personally, I feel better when someone from the town says that this behavior is not okay — because the overwhelming message I get is that Davis residents either don’t care or agree with the hate.

The way Davis residents respond kind of reminds me of Steubensville, Ohio. We have a city in huge denial that there is a problem. When Emily Ighnat posted the full name of the victim from the much publicized trial, along with slurs, libel and a physical threat, she got blow back from the non-Steubensville community. Her mother jumped to her defense, describing her as a good kid, much like the language I see used to describe Davis residents who perpetuate hate. There was the littany of excuses — how Emily Ighnat supposedly did not know what rape was (but at the same time was supposedly taking college classes because she’s a ‘good kid’). The mother claims Emily Ighnat’s deleting of her own social media accounts was some sort of step in the right direction, rather than just protection for Emily Ighnat. See the contraditions here:

Graffiti and threats aren’t as bad as beatings and rapes, but I do worry that the message being sent is the former is okay. As with Trent Mays and Malik Richardson, I am already seeing commenters online more worried about Clayton Garzon and how things are ‘unfair’ for him, rather than concerned about the terrible terrible acts that were committed.

I know that no city is completely safe, but I can’t help but feel a little extra scared biking in the early morning or late evening these days knowing that Clayton Garzon, the man accused of beating Mikey Partida while using anti-homosexual slurs AND previously knifing folks in Dixon, is out there. I know he is innocent in the eyes of the law until proven guilty, but the accounts out there don’t leave much doubt and I have to protect myself. I don’t think the GPS monitor he has to wear now that they have upped his bail ($500k, already posted) is going to do much to protect me, but I am glad he has to keep away from Mikey Partida. (Has anyone heard if he also has to keep away from the Partida family?)

Reading some of the comments on local news has been disheartening. On the Davis Patch, commenter “Jamon Turner” shrugs off the slurs as not being hateful, just normal parlance. On the same article, commenter “JJ Lawrence” writes “Davis is full of hate crimes and racism that is NEVER addressed because the parents are either political figures in this community or know the right people” — and he uses this to tell us that we should not judge Clayton Garzon. The argument is that because other people get away with hate crimes and racism, Clayton Garzon should too! Frightening.

There are a lot of aggressive drivers to fear in Davis. The ones I’ve had the most trouble with look too old to be college students and the recent cyclist deaths have been due to residents driving, not students. Now I keep my eye out for this guy as a pedestrian too.