Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s “moon shot” is a step closer to take off. 

As the 2020 legislative session nears, some university students across the state are hailing the governor’s proposed “Opportunity Scholarship” as a way to alleviate student debt and provide “every New Mexico student with an opportunity for higher education.” Among them, is the University of New Mexico’s student government, who passed a resolution last fall in support of the scholarship. 

But even with UNM and NMSU’s bilateral endorsement of the scholarship, the details are, as of the publication of this article, confuddled. 

In the next few weeks, New Mexico legislators will consider several changes to the e-cigarette and vaping industry, including establishing a licensure process for retailers and raising the age limit for purchase. 

These bills come in response to the number of young people who have taken up vaping and the recent epidemic of lung injuries associated with Vitamin E Acetate, an additive in some vaping liquids. 

The CDC reported 2,602 cases of e-cigarette related lung injuries and 57 deaths related to e-cigarette use as of early January.

Despite the opening licks of a Judas Priest song, Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller’s second State of the City gave off a subdued feel. 

After introductory jokes about Colorado chile feuds and penguins in the desert subsided, Keller addressed a more sobering topic — crime. 

Since the start of Keller’s administration, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) hired 100 new officers. Keller said that for the first time in a decade, APD is “1,000 officer strong.”

Two prominent journalism organizations reprimanded the Communication and Journalism Department’s response to a Daily Lobo records request via the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA.) 

The two statements — one from the New Mexico Chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the other from Rio Grande Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists — came after Department Chair David Weiss said he was “disturbed” by what he said was the “use/misuse/abuse of IPRA” by the Daily Lobo in emails exchanged within the department. Those emails were obtained by the Daily Lobo via a records request. 

The Daily Lobo requested documents associated with the department’s student grievance procedure in October 2019. 

UNM student assists Española water clean-up

University of New Mexico law student Mara Yarbourgh is working to bring environmental justice to the community members of Española, New Mexico and ensuring the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is sticking to their primary goals of protecting human health and the environment. 

Since giving a dissertation on the North Railroad Avenue Plume (NRAP) superfund site last year, Yarbrough said she realized there is a lack of communication and understanding between the people in Española and what the EPA is doing.

Benton prevails in runoff: Retains UNM area council seat

City Councilor Isaac “Ike” Benton takes the race.

With 100% of precinct results reporting, Benton (D-District 2) received 52.2% of the vote in Tuesday's runoff election, while challenger Zack Quintero (D) got 47.8%. The gap between the two candidates was just over 4%.

Benton will retain in his seat for another four-year term.

Justice Department ends three-year oversight of UNM

The U.S. Department of Justice released the University of New Mexico from a three-year oversight, UNM President Garnett Stokes announced in a Board of Regents meeting on Dec. 10 as well as in a letter to all students, staff and faculty.

The DOJ formally ended its oversight in a letter dated Dec. 6, 2019. DOJ closed its monitoring of the agreement because they felt UNM had met its requirements of the three-year oversight agreement, according to the letter.

“Please note that this determination does not preclude the Department’s investigation of future complaints against UNM, if any,” the letter said.

UNM adapts to enrollment slide

University of New Mexico student Madelyn Lucas has been a New Student Orientation (NSO) leader for two years. During the last two summers, Lucas would get to main campus early Monday morning and chauffeur dozens of incoming students around UNM until Thursday evening.

Lucas said she hasn’t noticed a decline in the hundred or so incoming students she has worked within her two years as an NSO leader; however, in her other job as a student leader of the undergraduate student government, she grapples with it every day.

Since the fall semester of 2012, student enrollment has plummeted by one-fifth (21.68%), according to data from UNM’s Office of Institutional Analytics (OIA). The decline is in response to national trends and campus events, according to Provost James Holloway —  which has led to budget shortages, departmental scale back and a drastic shift in life for all UNM community members.

Kayleigh Maes defines college experience though art and friendship

Kayleigh Maes’s passion for her major in Media Arts is the end product of an affinity for film and photography rooted in childhood. Maes’s strong foundation in her degree path is built upon her family’s equally artistic background, and according to Maes, this foundation has reassured her whenever she questions her career plan. 

“My whole family has been in the film industry since I was little. My dad started out as a graphic designer and then became an art director in film here. So, I grew up going onto set and taking photographs of what I saw,” Maes said, adding that her parents have wholeheartedly supported her selecting a Media Arts route over a film and photography career. 

In addition to her sturdy personal foundation, Maes maintains an equally secure professional impact in Albuquerque. She plans to continue developing her existing photography business after graduation and continue working at the magazine Perfect Wedding Guide New Mexico

Climate strike demands UNM to call state of climate emergency


Students, staff and members of the University of New Mexico community called for the University to declare a state of climate emergency Friday afternoon. University President Garnett Stokes was not in attendance to hear that message.

The climate strike included a march from Johnson Field to the outside Stokes' office in Scholes Hall. UNM LEAF —  a climate group —  and Fight For our Lives led the march in order to present Stokes with a letter demanding a regenerative campus, investing in education on climate change action and the elimination of UNM’s investment in the fossil fuel industry. 

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