Some students at the University of California Santa Barbara believe a local bar acted with racial animus after it challenged their forms of identification.
Oscar Zarate and Stephanie Periban allege Giovanni’s Pizza was “insulting” for its employees’ ambivalence over the IDs, and the UCSB Campus Democrats claim the bar “enforced racist and deeply problematic ID policies.”
The Democrats group also is encouraging a boycott of the establishment, The Tab reports.
“Our organization will be taking our business to another local pizzeria unless and until Giovanni’s offers a formal apology to the affected students, and changes their racist and arbitrary ID policies. We hope that Giovanni’s Pizza understands the gravity of the actions of their employees, and responds promptly and appropriately,” the group said in a statement.
According to The Bottom Line, Zarate’s Mexican government-issued ID was questioned, with the bartender asking for “extra documentation.” Periban’s EAD card, which is issued to DACA — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — students, was refused. They claim every other bar they’d been to that night had accepted these IDs.
The group further claimed they were harassed by fellow patrons and later removed from the restaurant by Gio’s employees.
Rosemary Moll, the manager who dealt with the group, said Monday that she was unfamiliar with the IDs and wanted to protect the restaurant’s liquor license, denying any racial motivations.
“She saw it and she was like, ‘you know, you really need a passport with this,’” Zarate, a fourth year political science major, told The Bottom Line on Sunday.
“She wanted extra documentation,” Zarate said. “From the beginning, she really was not into the Mexican ID. She was not going to accept it.” Zarate finally got a cup for beer when he showed an expired California ID. …
Fourth year sociology major Gilberto Arteaga said he began asking the woman why she wouldn’t accept Periban’s ID. All of a sudden, he said, a college-aged white male behind him began to “shove” him and yell at the group to leave the line. Arteaga alleges the woman behind the counter threatened to call the cops, at which point the group decided to leave the line. On the way back to the table, Arteaga said, another employee approached the group and “kicked them out” of the restaurant.
A friend of Zarate and Periban said her German boyfriend got beer without a hassle by providing his German driver’s license.
Responding to the students this past week, Moll said the students “didn’t have the correct card” and that Periban was “belligerent” and “aggressive.”
“I can’t just give someone a beer unless I feel sure that it’s legitimate,” she added.
Regarding forms of identification, a representative of the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control said “it is within [Giovanni’s] discretion to say ‘yea’ or ‘nay’ depending on the totality of circumstances.”
She added most foreign IDs do not list physical descriptions such as height and weight, and indeed The Bottom Line notes that Zarate’s Mexican ID and Periban’s EAD card do not provide these characteristics.
Ms. Moll went on to say “I will swear to God it’s not based on race. [But] if they cause an unsafe situation for my customers and staff, I can ask them to leave.”
The Tab reports that various students trashed Giovanni’s on Facebook following the imbroglio.
IMAGE: Max Sparber/Flickr