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Friday, November 28, 2014

Fee board hears group funding requests

Child care, LGBTQ groups say they need more space, funds

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By Ardee Napolitano / New Mexico Daily Lobo

Matt Fleischer, attorney general of the Associated Students of the University of New Mexico, reads from a tablet during a forum organized by the Student Fee Review Board on Wednesday night. Attendees expressed funding concerns about various University bodies, such as the UNM Children’s Campus for Early Care and Education, in the forum.

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A Student Fee Review Board forum Wednesday night focused primarily on child care at UNM.

About half a dozen of the 30 people who participated came up to voice their support for the UNM Children’s Campus for Early Care and Education.

Daniela Baca, the interim director of UNMCC, said the supporters came out to make sure members of the board recognized the importance of the program.

“I think that we want to make sure that the review board is aware of just how many students we benefit,” she said. “Not only in our facility, but also the students who benefit from us having child care for their professor or other students in the class so that they don’t have to bring their children to class, or having a professor cancel class because they don’t have care available.”

The supporters also wanted to raise awareness of the program itself.

“I’ve been a part of classes here at UNM where the teacher was unaware that we have a center, and he brought his child to class,” said Josh Crawley, a childcare worker for UNMCC. “It was very disruptive because he was trying to do a lecture, and you would hear chalk being thrown. So I really appreciate it when my professors have children over here so we can have class and focus.”

Baca said UNMCC provides care and early childhood education for about 300 to 350 children of students, staff and faculty of the University.

According to a document distributed at the forum, the UNMCC is requesting the same amount of money per student to fund the center as last fiscal year. The total amount of money requested is $378,865, according to the document.

Priscila Poliana, president of UNM’s Graduate and Professional Students Association, said she believes the UNMCC to be important, but one of the major problems for the Children’s Campus is limited space.

“One of the things that we learned, through the Student Fee Review Board, is that they are running into quite a few limitations that are related to the space,” she said. “They cannot expand their services because they need to comply with state requirements.”

According to the UNMCC’s application to the SFRB, there is a waiting list of more than 300 children.

Matthew Rush, chief of staff for the GPSA and member of the board, said he also supports the Children’s Campus, but it would be difficult to help them with their limitations on space.

“We’ve talked to them several times in the past about the projections for building a new building,” he said. “They do have some quotes out there for projected plans. Those are in the millions of dollars for a new building. Unfortunately, that’s not within the SFRB budget to do it.”

LGBTQ Resource Center

Space was also an issue for another center located on campus.

Several students came up to voice their support for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Resource Center.

Alyssa Hedrich, a member of the LGBTQ Resource Center, said moving the center would make it more accessible to the UNM community.

“To make the LGBTQ Resource Center more integrated in the campus community, it really needs to change space,” she said. “It’s in a basement. And it’s inaccessible to handicapable folks on campus. It’s really got to get moved.”

The LGBTQ Resource Center is located between Scholes Hall and Dane Smith.

Luke Holmen, a member of the SFRB, said building a new space for the resource center would not be possible given the budget.

“A lot of the time, we’re asking the administration to do things as part of our recommendation, but we don’t have enough actual funding just from the students,” he said. “We really want to. It’s not that we’re not trying. We really do appreciate the recommendation, and we’ll tack it on as well.”

Poliana said she supports a space allocation committee that has formed to find a new space for the center.

“I appreciate the LGBTQ,” she said. “Ideally, I think it should be Mesa Vista Hall, close to all the other ethnic centers. That seems like to a good place to me.”

Poliana encouraged students to give their opinions on how the SFRB should allocate funds.

The SFRB will meet to deliberate on appropriations on Sunday and next Saturday, Feb.1. Those recommendations will be sent to the UNM Board of Regents later this year for approval.

Emergency Food Support
Road Runner Food Bank: 349-8841 or toll free 866-327-0267, rrfb.org, 5840 Office Blvd. NE

The Storehouse: 842-6491, thestorehouseabq.org, 106 Broadway Blvd. SE

East Central Ministries: 266-3590, eastcentralministries.org, 123 Vermont St. NE

NM SNAP: 888-473-3676, snap-help.com

NM WIC: 866-867-3124, nmwic.org