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Saturday, December 20, 2014

ASUNM: Athletics is worth the money

In a twist away from the graduate students’ special election, the ASUNM Senate resolved nearly the opposite of everything the graduate student body voted on pertaining to athletics.

In a 19-0 decision Wednesday, the undergraduate student Senate voted to support student athletes, Athletics Director Paul Krebs and the department as a whole. It also voted to support funding for athletics from student fees.

According to the resolution: “The recent special elections held by the Graduate and Professional Students Association is not consistent with the undergraduate student body’s feelings towards its athletic program, its student athletes and especially the funding they receive through student fees.”

Diverting student fees from athletics would limit the amount of student tickets, dropping student attendance at sporting events, according to the resolution.

“Support at events for athletics is crucial to their success, and reduced attendance would thus affect UNM’s competitiveness on a national scale,” according to the resolution.

A portion of student fees goes toward student tickets, said Tim Cass, associate athletics director. A cut in student fees to athletics could possibly affect free student tickets. Only about 5 percent of the Athletics budget comes from student fees.

The graduate population voted to encourage the Board of Regents to divert student fees away from athletics.

ASUNM also differed in opinion with graduate students on Krebs’ performance. After a line giving support to Krebs was stricken from the resolution last week, Sen. Sean Mallory put it back in at the meeting.

“UNM holds these individuals in the spotlight,” Mallory said. “There is pretty much zero room for error, and it is in my opinion that everybody deserves a second chance.”

Only one senator, Daniel Parker, who eventually voted in favor of the resolution, was hesitant to support Krebs.

“I’m just wondering if it is prudent to support the leadership that — at least in some people’s minds — put the Athletics Department and athletes themselves in a disfavorable position,” Parker said. “Is it a good thing to support them when, in some ways some people think, they put athletics in this spot?”

On Jan. 28, the graduate student body voted no confidence in Krebs’ performance and his handling of the altercation between head football coach Mike Locksley and former assistant J.B. Gerald.

Mallory, who drafted the resolution, said he didn’t condone all of Krebs’ decisions. But, he said, it is time to move on.

“We have been dwelling over this issue for far too long,” Mallory said. “UNM faces a tough challenge in 2010 fiscally and across the board … This is time for us to unite, to stop finger pointing and come behind each other.”

And while GPSA felt it necessary to hold a special election, Mallory said that the undergraduate student body has weighed-in by attending athletics events.

“The reason this was written from my point of view was largely due to the fact that how many student tickets have been sold at athletic events this season and our overall attendance for all sports over the past four years,” Mallory said. “With those numbers, I just felt that special elections were unnecessary.”

Also, ASUNM President Monika Roberts said last weekend that holding a similar special election for undergraduates regarding athletics’ funding would have unfairly targeted the department.

“We never really had any sort of election, and I’m not saying that what they (graduate students) did was wrong or anything because that’s what you guys wanted to do,” she said. “I feel like if we had an election specifically for Athletics, that would kind of be like pointing a finger.”