The University of New Mexico’s Student Fee Review Board (SFRB) was created to add the voice of our University’s students to the budgeting process. Through this board, the students’ representatives voice concerns and make adjustments to the use of the community’s student fees. The goal of the SFRB is to enhance UNM’s academic and intellectual environment by supporting student activities and organizations. While there are tough budget and management questions to be answered each year, this year presented difficult decisions based on a continued decline in student enrollment.
While the deliberations this year presented a lively debate, support for transparency must not waver. Any indication I gave that I do not support the individual student journalists working to hold the board accountable was wrong, and I apologize unequivocally and completely. Additionally, any restriction on freedom of thought and opinion would be detrimental to the foundation of the press and their work to hold board members to account; this includes criticism. I welcome and support the criticism by fellow students and members of the Daily Lobo staff and did not initiate any action with the University to restrict the posts or public comments of my work, including a no-contact order toward a member of the Daily Lobo staff.
As members of the Student Fee Review Board, we represent not only our appointers but the student body as a whole. With this role comes expectations of thoughtfulness and good governance on behalf of the undergraduate and graduate student bodies, respectively.
With accepting a role on the SFRB, a student accepts that they are a public figure, and should and must be held accountable by the campus community. Transparency is key, and the work of the press forces public figures to hold themselves accountable.