I am a UNM alumnus who works out regularly at Johnson Gym. When I entered on the east side of the building on Feb. 23, I noticed my ID card, which was current, once again did not activate the turnstile. The monitor informed me, before letting me in, that neither turnstile was working. A work order had been submitted some time ago, but nothing had been done to repair either.

I called UNM police soon after and explained to the student dispatcher that, given the climate of campus violence, I thought it was important for two reasons to repair these turnstiles ASAP. First, to help monitor individuals entering the building. I could have easily gained entry with no current ID, which can obviously be problematic. Second, to send the message to students that someone actually cares about their safety.

She (the dispatcher) told me she would check with the lock shop, voice my concerns and get back to me the same day. She did so and told me they had responded that they would send someone over that day and take care of it.

Monday both turnstiles were still broken.

I called the UNM police again. A different student dispatcher tried to explain to me that UNM police didn’t repair turnstiles. I responded I was quite aware of this, explained what I had been told on Friday but thought they surely had some responsibilities for campus safety. I asked him to check back with the lock shop and please let me know what was going on. He said he would.

He never did, so I called him back. He explained patiently to me that he had called in a work order and that was all he could do since police don’t fix turnstiles. I replied that seemed a bit ineffective since, as I had already told him, work order(s) had already been submitted and in fact one had been tacked to the wall above one turnstile for some time. I mentioned, before hanging up, that I had hoped something more could be done and the work expedited or at least an explanation given for the delay.

As of today, Feb. 28, neither turnstile has been repaired.

Maybe I’m overreacting, but to me this Kafkaesque episode is emblematic of UNM. Monitors at Johnson Gym have told me subsequently long lag times in effecting repairs are common and mentioned they suspected this was due to holding off because of forthcoming major renovations in May. People with good intentions trying to do the right thing and effect positive change end up giving up in the face of a stagnance bordering on malignance. There has been a discussion for several years of designing an effective campus safety plan which, to the best of my knowledge has yet to be implemented.

UNM undergraduates seem to be at the bottom of the University’s prioritized list, except when it comes to tuition increases. Female undergraduates in particular aren’t protected adequately, according to the DOJ, and the scandal- and deficit-ridden Athletic Department can’t even keep our children safe by properly securing Johnson Gym. Business as usual evidently. Certainly is tempting to sink into apathy and watch news reports of another preventable school shooting and our “President” calling for arming our teachers.

Peter Lawton