If you’re looking for an excuse to skip class this Monday, head up to the New Mexico State Legislature for UNM Day. There, in Santa Fe, representatives from various entities of the University of New Mexico will be tabling and lobbying at the legislature’s UNM Day.
Anyone is welcome to watch the speeches, votes and other goings-on of New Mexico’s highest governing institution. This 60-day session will be especially impactful for UNM and the Lottery Scholarship.
For example, House Bill 146 would change the Lottery Scholarship from a merit-based scholarship to a needs-based one. Eligible recipients “family contributions” as calculated in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) would have to be below 150 percent.
Over the last five years, votes regarding the amount of money students receive through the Lottery Scholarship have reduced the scholarship from full coverage to 60 percent.
Libertie Green, governmental affairs director for the Associated Students of UNM, said that nobody from the student government will be speaking publicly in front of legislators. She said they will be tabling in the rotunda.
Another bill of interest to UNM students is House Bill 320, a $2 million appropriation to reinstate men's soccer, beach volleyball and the men’s and women’s ski teams. Mired in Title IX compliance issues and Athletics Department scandals, the Board of Regents, the supreme governing body of UNM, voted to cut the sports at the recommendation of Athletics Director Eddie Nuñez and University President Garnett Stokes.
On Saturday, the men’s soccer program announced they had accepted the Athletics Department’s invitation for a “meet and greet” at the legislature. They added, “We were surprised that UNM asked us to do this, considering that the University has voted to eliminate our team.”
A major decision is set to be made in this session involving the makeup of the Board of Regents.
Five out of the seven seats on the Board of Regents are open. The new members are picked by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, then approved by a majority of the Senate.
One of those seats — the student regent — is selected from the student body at the recommendation of UNM’s student governments and the University president.
Justin Garcia is a freelance reporter with the Daily Lobo. He primarily cover’s ASUNM. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @Just516garc.