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Friday, December 19, 2014

Daily Lobo is crossing into realm of yellow journalism

Editor,

We can’t express to you how disappointed we are with your article on the divestment resolution in Monday’s Daily Lobo. We keep wondering if we were at the same meeting.

For the first time in a long time we felt engaged and united with many of our graduate colleagues who were present at Saturday’s GPSA council meeting, especially after the divestment resolution was passed. Instead of offering the facts, the Daily Lobo took a position and led its readers into taking a position against the passage of the divestment resolution. There are so many discursive and semantic moves in this piece that make us wonder if that was the intent of the writer.

We also don’t understand how a resolution from a coalition of nine student organizations and a 14-5-1 vote can be represented as polarizing. By presenting it as a “polarizing issue,” Chloe Henson erased the coalition of student groups present, the powerful intersectional analysis they argued for and the fact that the resolution specifically addresses corporations such as Group 4 Securicor (G4S) that deport undocumented immigrants who are UNM students and family members of UNM students.

What concerns us the most is that this piece does not portray an accurate account, especially for those individuals who were not present on Saturday. The GPSA council members had a long and serious discussion that represented various viewpoints and thus we feel we were able to make an informed decision on the resolution. We don’t believe that it is fair for the Daily Lobo to gloss over the historic passing of the divestment resolution by writing such a negative article. By writing the article in this way, Henson was able to ignore what was the most important and pertinent part of the resolution, which was the question of transparency. Transparency is in the interest of all UNM students, faculty, staff and the community and is in fact an issue GPSA is concerned with as well.

It has to be noted, since the Daily Lobo doesn’t mention it, that one of the central pieces of this divestment resolution is for the GPSA to call on “UNM to create a permanent committee with student representation to review, evaluate, and monitor other issues related to socially responsible investment.” We do not want our tuition and student fee money going to corporations that oppress our families and community. But before we can stop that, we need to know what corporations UNM is investing in.

In conclusion, the Daily Lobo should hold itself to higher standards of neutrality when publishing stories so charged with issues of power and human struggle. History and current events have taught us the power of the media and press. Biased journalism contributes to creating tension and animosity within the various groups involved in this issue. This slanted article was unfair to those involved in the GPSA council, the persons who presented the resolution and all of UNM.

Virginia Necochea, GPSA Council Representative, Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Studies

Melina Juarez, GPSA Council Representative, Political Science

Elisabeth Perkal, GPSA Council Representative, American Studies