Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story stated that ASUNM appropriated around $30,000. The number has been correction. The Daily Lobo apologizes for the error.
A long and confrontational debate arose in the Associated Students of University of New Mexico’s first full senate meeting of the semester.
The debate regarded a $650 line item of an over $3,000 appropriation for LoboTHON after it was announced that ASUNM will be operating with an $99,852 budget. Last semester, ASUNM appropriated roughly $70,000.
LoboTHON was eventually awarded $3,189 for costs associated with the group’s yearly dance marathon and travel fees for a conference in July. LoboTHON is a student organisation that raises money for the UNM Children's Hospital.
According to representatives of LoboTHON some of the appropriation was designated for hiring security for LoboTHON’s yearly dance marathon. Nearly all of the Senate had something to say about this.
The debate centered around whether the dance marathon — to be held in the Student Union Building ballrooms — required security guards at each of its three exits.
The new standing rules passed roughly an hour before the debate prevented senators from funding LoboTHON’s request for security in full. However, as many senators pointed out, standing rules can be suspended.
Senator Gabriel Ruja recommended that LoboTHON rely on University of New Mexico Police Department. Steering & Rules chair Mohammed Assed advocated to fund them in full. Assed is also LoboTHON’s Family-Hospital Relations Director.
Finance Chair Holly Gallegos said the senate was already giving LoboTHON a break since this was something that should have been requested in the budget process. “It’s not our job to clean up other people's mistakes,” she added.
After the first vote to reduce the request to $425, Assed responded to Gallegos, saying it was, in fact a Senator’s duty to clean up mistakes of students groups. That vote narrowly passed with 12 in favor and eight opposed.
The second vote to further reduce the line item to $325 succeeded with ten in favor, nine against with Senator Selina Montoya as the sole abstention.
Attorney General Emily Hartshorn then raised a point of inquiry. She said that Robert’s Rules, the most common set of parliamentary procedure rules and the set that ASUNM follows, was clear about what members like Assed who are affiliated with LoboTHON ought to do. She said that Robert Rules would have them abstain from voting but, at the end of the day, it was up to the individual Senators.
In the final vote to fund the LoboTHON appropriation, ten senators voted for while nine abstained, including Assed.
Before the debate, Senators elected a new President Pro Tempore.
With an 11 to nine vote, Jacob Silva was elected to the position. The meeting saw Silva and Senator Mohammed Jaber nominated for the position whose responsibilities include sitting in on a committee and being “the glue holding (the) Senate together,” according to the ASUNM previous President Pro Tempore, Satchel Ben.
After the meeting Silva said becoming President Pro Tempore was something he wanted. He said he plans on revamping Senator’s office hours and “holding senators accountable.”
Three other appropriation were also passed.
The Honor Society Association’s group charter received $1,326. The groups interim president Victoria Knight said the awarded money would go to cover travel cost to attend the Western Regional Honors Colleges conference. The appropriation was approved unanimously.
Knight said HSA would also be making a stop at Yellowstone National Park using some of the money awarded.
In addition to being HSA’s interim president, Knight is a member (2x check definition) of ASUNM serving as the joint council representative.
Women’s Ultimate Frisbee was awarded $3,968 while Men's Ultimate Frisbee was approved for $4,989.
In her president’s report, Becka Myers said that UNM President Garnett Stokes honored ASUNM’s recommendations for student regent.
The Daily Lobo reported that Myers recommended Mason Martinez (former chief of staff for Noah Brooks) Selina Montoya (current ASUNM senator) and Adrian Schmitt (fromer programs coordinator for ASUNM Governmental Affairs.)
The student regent is a voting member of the Board of Regents, the supreme governing body of UNM.
Additionally, Libertie Green was appointed as Executive Director of Governmental Affairs and Jacqueline Hoswell, who had previously been ASUNM attorney general and interned in Washington DC, as Assistant Executive of Governmental Affairs.
Governmental Affairs is an agency of ASUNM that lobbies on behalf of students in the New Mexico Legislature.
Green, a Political Science senior, said protecting the lottery scholarship was among her agencies top goals. President Myers echoed that sentiment in her president’s report.
She also urged ASUNM Senators to attend UNM Day at the State Legislature.
Green was the Fall 2018 assistant executive director. James Campbell, who headed the agency in fall, resigned after receiving an internship in Washington D.C.
Molly Wright was also appointed to Marking Director of Student Special Services
Justin Garcia is a freelance reporter with the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers ASUNM. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Just516garc.