Sex, hazing and non-compliance. This was a bit of a tumultuous semester for UNM, here’s a look back at the top 10 stories of the last 16 weeks.
1. UNM among schools investigated by DOJ
Last week the Department of Justice announced it is investigating UNM for its handling of sexual assault reports. Not much else is known about why the University is being investigated, but Dean of Students Tomas Aguirre said UNM has been pro-active in its efforts to protect students and to investigate allegations of sexual assault.
2. WisePies gets naming rights to The Pit
Last month UNM announced a $5 million deal with WisePies Pizza and Salad that gives the locally-owned pizzeria naming rights to The Pit for 10 years. The money from the deal will help free up some of the operation budget for the Athletic Department. And until 2023, the basketball venue will be known as WisePies Arena aka The Pit.
3. Professor pay pales compared to peers
A survey from the American Association of University Professors found that UNM’s professors are in the 24th percentile for pay, with an average annual salary of $106, 900. UNM Provost Chouki Abdallah said the University is actively searching for new ways to be proactive about competitive faculty pay.
4. Hoops coach earns new deal
In September, basketball head coach Craig Neal accepted a six-year contract that will pay him $950,000 this season, plus incentives. The deal makes Neal the high-paid head coach in the Mountain West Conference.
5. UNM could face fines for not complying with Clery Act
In August, an internal audit found that the University was out-of-compliance with the Clery Act, prompting UNM to take create a new Cleary coordinator position and a Clery Steering Committee, train staff on how to better maintain crime statistics and streamline the reporting process.
6. Sex event titles, not content, provoke apology
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After UNM received 40 complaints, mostly from parents, about the seminar titles for UNM’s Sex Week, Vice President of Student Affairs Cheo Torres made a public apology for not giving the event “…close enough supervision to prevent the inclusion of topics that are sensational and controversial.” Since then, ASUNM passed a resolution supporting Sex Week and the Student Fee Review Board recommended a funding increase to the Women’s Resource Center, the on-campus office responsible for the event.
7. Women’s soccer team, coach suspended for hazing
Twenty-two members of the women’s soccer team were suspended for one game each after a hazing incident that included forcing seven freshmen to drink and strip to their underclothes. UNM Athletics has since announced that Kit Vela will not be returning as the team’s head coach, but did not comment as to whether this was connected to the hazing.
8. Fall freshman are best prepared in University history
This semester’s incoming freshmen had an average GPA of 3.4 and an average ACT score of 23 – the highest averages in UNM’s 125-year history. Associate Vice President Terry Babbit attributed the increase in attracting high-achieving students through UNM’s Honors College.
9. LGBTQ Resource Center gets national recognition
UNM is the 17th best school for LGBTQ students, according to bestcolleges.com. The list of the top 30 schools for LGBTQ students came out last month and cited UNM’s LGBTQ Resource Center and it’s “wide array of services” as the reason for the ranking.
10. UNM may divest from fossil fuel companies
Representatives from non-profit 350.org met with President Bob Frank, representatives from the Office of Academic/Student Affairs and the UNM Foundation to discuss the possible end to the University’s investments in fossil fuels. While no decisions have been made yet, Tom Solomon from 350.org said more UNM students have signed a petition for divestment than at any other university in the nation.
Jyllian Roach is the editor-in-chief of the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @Jyllian_R.