To say that morale is low at the University of New Mexico would be a dramatic understatement.
Following the Board of Regents’ approval of eliminating four sports from the University, including the successful and beloved men’s soccer program, feelings toward New Mexico’s flagship institution have soured beyond recognition.
In many ways, it’s not hard to see why. The regents, Athletic Director Eddie Nuñez and President Garnett Stokes are, by their own admission, fixing the administrative problems of the University with solutions that ultimately punish students, whether or not that was their intention.
That, combined with rising tuition and decreasing lottery scholarships, has led many to become jaded toward UNM as a whole. However, it is during times like these that we as a community must remind ourselves why we feel so passionate about the wellbeing of our school in the first place.
Like New Mexico and the diverse group of people that inhabit it, UNM is unlike any other campus in the country. It possesses an identity all its own, a place that provides so many opportunities to a state continually known for its underserved residents.
The fiery response voiced by students and community members alike serves a purpose, but the action we take cannot begin and end with angry social media posts. We must actively work to better our University, both for us and future generations of Lobos.
We as students cannot control the decisions made by the Board of Regents. Many of the factors that went into the decision to cut sports had nothing to do with the wants and needs of students, but everything to do with staying in a conference many students don’t even know exists.
Losing Lobo sports is difficult, especially for the athletes who dedicated so much time to their respective teams, but this does not mean that students are unable to change their university for the better.
You can talk to your ASUNM or GPSA senators and president, who hold more power than you may think, and let them know of the change you’d like to see. Believe me, if enough people come out and speak their mind, they will listen. Better yet, you can serve on your student government and play a more active role in shaping the future of UNM.
You also can write to your New Mexico state legislators, demanding that the government create legislation geared toward the betterment of students across the state (there are no shortage of higher education bills during each legislative session).
Students can also create organizations and clubs aimed at fostering a greater community at UNM through common interests. It’s these kinds of groups that often define one’s time at college, not only by expressing your individual interests, but also creating a student body actively involved in their school.
In short, students, faculty and community members have many different ways of creating a University of New Mexico that serves the interest of the people who fund it in the first place.
I’ve seen how much Lobos of all generations care about UNM, and it is because of them that I still believe in UNM, in spite of it all. Through the darkness, we will come out the other side a better university, because we put in the effort to make it that way.
Kyle Land is the the Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Lobo. The opinions reflected in this column are his own. He can be contacted by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @kyleoftheland.