The next Vice President of the Associated Students of the University of New Mexico will have been a Finance Committee Chair. That much is clear.
Whether it will be current Finance Chair, Holly Gallegos, or last semester’s Finance Chair, Madelyn Lucas, will be decided by the undergraduate student body during the election, which runs from March 24-27.
The ASUNM constitution describes the role as “the president of and preside over the Senate, and shall have no vote except in the event of a tie. “
The Vice President also appoints Senators to committee chairs along with assigning senators to one of the three committees. Like the president, the Vice President also comes with a salary and scholarship.
The Daily Lobo sat down with both candidates to discuss issues and policies.
ASUNM and Greek Life
Both Lucas and Gallegos have been members of a traditional sorority during their time at UNM. Both also said that ASUNM Senate, which has contained an overwhelmingly disproportionate amount of Greek life members compared to the student body, should be more representative of UNM undergraduates.
Lucas said that, if elected, she would shift resources to online engagement to allow more students to have access to ASUNM. She also said she wanted to make the endorsement forums more accessible.
Gallegos had structural reform in mind. Gallegos and her running mate Mohammad Assed said they’re sponsoring legislation to add ten seats to the ASUNM Senate. Those ten seats would be filled by students elected by each of the nine resource centers and athletics, according to Gallegos and Assed.
According to Gallegos, this would help the ASUNM Senate become more representative of the student body.
Agencies and Student Organizations
In February, Nick Morgan resigned from the Senate citing “unethical” funding double standards of agencies and organizations. In short, Morgan said the eight agencies were held to a lighter, less restrictive standard than the over 100 student organizations.
ASUNM Director of Communications Brendon Grey said that because agencies served the entire student body, as opposed to a more niche group like most organizations serve, they required a different set of rules.
Lucas said that it was a topic that came up a lot and should be handled on a “case-by-case basis.”
Gallegos said she felt like the agency exceptions shouldn’t be.
The Way Wilks Did It
Both Lucas and Gallegos said they admired the way current ASUNM Vice President Emily Wilks handled the Senate.
“She’s very diplomatic, which I think is perfect for her position,” Lucas said about Wilks. “Your opinion doesn’t matter as much, but your whole role is to make sure that the opinions and voices of all the students are being represented.”
Lucas said that, if elected, she would like to increase Senator engagement.
“It’s not necessarily a change, but there’s a lot of question as to how much Senators should be doing. It’s the bare minimum for you to meet and communicate with your student organizations.”
Gallegos said that falling into a space of complacency when chairing the Senate was an easy thing to do. Yet, Wilks had managed to avoid it.
“That’s something I want to continue doing,” Gallegos said.
She added that, if elected, she would like to serve as a conduit between the student body and ASUNM.
On Monday, March 18th, the ASUNM Elections Commission will host a debate-style forum in the Student Union Building Atrium. Gallegos, Lucas and their running mates will answer questions regarding some of the topics covered in this article and have a chance to respond to their opponent's positions.
Justin Garcia is a staff reporter with the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers student government. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @just516garc.