The popular vote wanted design A.
Supporters said in write-in comments that they preferred the artwork, that it provided a sense of pride and that it told a story better than other options.
The Regents disagreed.
Despite not receiving popular support, design C was chosen unanimously by the Academic, Student Affairs and Research Committee (ASAR) over four other designs. The seal is not the logo. Instead, the seal is reserved for official documents, including diplomas.
The old seal was scrapped in 2016 following protests and criticism, primarily from Native American groups. The seal depicted a spanish conquistador and was criticized for ignoring the genocidal implications of that iconography.
ASAR’s decision also bucked the recommendation of the 34-person Seal Committee. The committee recommended design A.
Initially, it looked as though the ASAR would forward the Seal Committee's recommendation to the full Regents. Instead, ASAR Chair and Regent Kim Sanchez Rael led the committee’s move to design C.
“I have a pretty strong opinion on this,” Sanchez Rael said. “I actually think that design C is the best seal design that came forward.”
There was no discernable disagreement from the other ASAR committee members.
“I also believe that making design decisions by committee and by vote doesn’t necessarily give you the best outcome,” Sanchez Rael said. “The reason I like design C is that it’s obviously compatible with the rest of the visual identity of the University,”
Sanchez Rael, like every other committee member, has no experience or training in graphic design or marketing, according to their LinkedIn pages. That didn’t stop the ASAR committee from overriding the popularly voted seal.
“I would like to second those comments, the logo of the University should carry the gravitas of the University,” Faculty Senate President Finnie Coleman said. “For me, design C is superior.”
Staff Council President Ryan Gregg expressed concern that design C may become outdated if the UNM logo were to change. But added that he prefered design C as well.
Gregg said the Seal committee intended the vote’s purpose was to gather information about what the community prefered — not determine the outcome.
Of the 8,089 participants in the vote, 37% preferred design A over other options while about 17% preferred design C, according to the Seal Committee’s report. The report also said design E was favored by voters who identified themselves as American Indian.
The design will be edited by University Communication and Marketing to better fit as embroidery, according to the Regents. The final seal will return to the ASAR committee before hitting the full Board of Regents vote in May.
Justin Garcia is the Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Just516garc