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Committee approves cutting Lobo funds

Editor's Note: Alma Olaechea is the Daily Lobo's ASUNM beat reporter and the Journalism Student Association's representative on the Student Publications Board.

The ASUNM Steering and Rules Committee unanimously passed a bill Wednesday night to cut all of the New Mexico Daily Lobo's ASUNM funding, which is about $37,000.

Sen. Lisa Marie Gomez, along with other member of the committee, agreed that the money would be better spent on other student organizations.

Full-time undergraduate students pay a fee that goes to the Associate Students of UNM to allocate to student organizations. The ASUNM Constitution states that the Student Publications Board automatically receives 12 percent of those fees.

The Student Publications Board is the publisher of the Daily Lobo, Conceptions Southwest and Best Student Essays. The ASUNM Constitution now states that at least 2 of the 12 percent granted to the Student Publications Board must go to Best Student Essays and Conceptions Southwest.

Bill 5B states that the funding should be cut from 12 to 2 percent, and that the 2 percent should still go to Conceptions Southwest and Best Student Essays. It states that the Daily Lobo is to receive no funding from ASUNM.

The bill will be presented to the Senate March 21. If the Senate passes the bill by a two-thirds majority vote, it will then go to ASUNM President Jennifer Liu to be signed or vetoed.

If signed by Liu, the bill will be put on the ballot for students to vote on during the next ASUNM election. If Liu vetos the bill, the Senate can overide it with a three-fourths' majority vote and send it on for student approval.

If the majority of undergraduate students voting in the election approve the measure, the constitutional amendment must receive final approval from the University's executive cabinet and the Board of Regents before going into effect.

Steering and Rules Chairman Joshua Aragon said the bill is a good idea only if the Daily Lobo can function without it's usual ASUNM funding.

"If it harms the operation of the Daily Lobo, then it would be ridiculous to pass the bill," he said.

Aragon said if the Daily Lobop has to raise advertising costs for student groups because of the ASUNM funding cut, then the $37,000 distributed to student groups might end up going back to the Daily Lobo to pay for student organization advertising. That, he said, would make no sense.

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Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Grant Nichols introduced the bill but could not be reached for comment following the meeting.

The Senate's Finance Committee had to refuse money to a few student groups Wednesday night that misunderstood the ASUNM funding rules.

Representatives of the A.G.O.R.A crisis center requested an allocation of $10,820 but only received $1,960 because, according to ASUNM bylaws, the allocation process cannot cover an organization's general operating fees.

Student organizations must apply for funding of general operating fees during the fall or spring budget process.

A.G.O.R.A provides free and confidential telephone services to UNM and surrounding areas regarding suicide, depression, abuse and relationships among other things.

Nichols and Sen. Steve Aguilar apologized to the group for not being able to give them money.

Aguilar later said that enforcing the rules is the right thing to do, though it can feel really bad.

"I hate it," he said. "Especially for such an important group."

The next Senate meeting is March 21 at 6 p.m. in the Kiva Lecture Hall.


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