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Michel Rivera.JPG

 Michel Rivera poses for a photo at UNM campus on Wednesday, March 20.

GPSA Presidential elections: Michel Rivera Ramirez

Michel Rivera Ramirez (ballot #3) is a second-year University of New Mexico School of Law student running for the Graduate Professional Student Association President with a focus on employment and labor law.

If he were to win the election, Rivera Ramirez’s main priority would be preparing to advocate at the New Mexico legislature for better state investment into UNM, he said.

“This will include more funding for scholarships, assistantships and other services that graduate students can benefit from,” Rivera Ramirez wrote.

He received his undergraduate degree in psychology from UNM and previously served as a senator for the ASUNM Finance Committee. Rivera Ramirez has also been President of College Democrats of New Mexico and is currently serving as second Vice President of the Student Bar Association.

“These positions have given me special insight into the many problems graduate students, and students in general, face on campus,” Rivera Ramirez said.

Regarding scholarship funding advocacy in the state legislature, Rivera Ramirez wants to focus on the Graduate Scholarship.

“The Graduate Scholarship offered by the New Mexico Legislature currently awards $7,200. I will advocate for the Graduate Scholarship to cover 100% of tuition,” Rivera Ramirez said.

He believes money should not be a barrier that prevents anyone from pursuing a degree, he said.

He wants to work to support the United Graduate Workers of UNM, the graduate student union on campus who focuses on increasing student worker salaries and fighting for better wages, Rivera Ramirez said.

“Giving support to graduate students fighting for their wages is something I believe the GPSA President should be on top of. Without getting into the weeds of pro-union versus anti-union, if the president looks at it from the perspective of students fighting for their wages, then it’s fair for the GPSA President to take a stand on that,” Rivera Ramirez said.

Rivera Ramirez wants to campaign for increased funding for proper lighting in order to make campus a safer place for students. He also plans to address food insecurity, he said.

Rivera Ramirez plans to expand the Lobo Food Pantry by advocating for more funding to supply the pantry and a potential second location on North Campus. He also wants to create partnerships with local charities, such as Roadrunner Food Bank, to allocate more resources to the pantry, he said.

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As GPSA President, Rivera Ramirez would plan to hold “coffee hour” sessions with student organizations and resource centers to make GPSA more accessible for graduate students who want to voice their concerns or advocate for their needs, he said.

“It’s an important step to take because it is important for students to see GPSA officials on campus, so they can talk to the president’s cabinet and other officials directly,” Rivera Ramirez said.

Rivera Ramirez wants to emphasize representation in student government for UNM’s underrepresented and underprivileged groups, he said. He said he hopes to see GPSA staffed with people willing to stand up for students and make sure their needs are heard by the right people.

“I have a lot of experience in not only New Mexico affairs but also New Mexico affairs that affect the students of UNM. I have unique knowledge of local issues from living here my whole life,” Rivera Ramirez said.

The GPSA election polls open Monday, March 25 at 9 a.m. and close Friday, March 29 at 5 p.m. Graduate and professional students enrolled in a degree-seeking program are eligible to vote.

Maria Fernandez is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at

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