It was big. It was radical. It was something that had come up a number of times before. And it would have restructured undergraduate student government.

But, it wasn’t ready. 

At least that was the consensus of the Steering & Rules Committee of the Associated Students of the University of New Mexico, who voted down a package of legislation that would have added up to 10 (possibly appointed) seats on the Senate. 

Resources and how to access them dominated the discussion at Monday’s Associated Students of the University of New Mexico endorsement forum.

The forum, mandated by ASUNM governing documents, gives student organizations a chance to endorse candidates, as the name suggests. The event doubles as a forum, where Elections Commissions Director Jordan Montoya and Assistant Director Christian Ojeda moderated the candidates. 

“I don’t think the endorsement forum is useful,” Montoya said. “(The forum) doesn’t mean people will vote.”

This Presidential Election comes after a Fall semester Senate election that saw record-low turnout. Just over 1,000 undergraduates voted, according to the Elections Commission. That's about six percent of the undergraduate student body for Fall 2018.

Editor's Note: The University's official response submitted to the labor board can be viewed in its entirety here.

The University of New Mexico has recommended the UNM Labor Management Relations Board reject a petition signed by over 900 faculty to create a union, according to their official response submitted to the board.

UNM said the bargaining unit, United Academics of UNM (UA-UNM), was not stated appropriately and should be ordered to submit another petition with UNM’s recommended changes. 

UNM’s response — delivered to the labor board Monday afternoon — was written by Loretta Martinez, chief legal counsel for UNM. President Garnett Stokes has previously said the president’s office is in charge of drafting the position. The University was required to meet a March 18 deadline for the response, which was extended from March 1. 

This year’s race for president of the undergraduate student government is a decade in the making. Adam Biederwolf and Mohammad Assed, both raised in Albuquerque, have known each other since elementary school.

Now, heading into what is likely to be their final two semesters of university, they are running against each other to represent the undergraduates as President of the Associated Students of the University of New Mexico. 

The President is elected by a plurality of main campus undergraduates and comes with a $10,000 per semester salary and a scholarship for two semesters. According to the ASUNM constitution, the ASUNM President is responsible for the eight student service agencies of ASUNM, (this coming year) co-chairing the Student Fee Review Board, representing the undergraduate student body to the Board of Regents and enforcing the ASUNM Senate laws. 

ASUNM Vice President candidates share their ideas

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 Legislature may be over, but UNM's budget woes are not

Focus will shift to the University of New Mexico budget, following this year’s legislative session.

UNM’s appropriations from the 54th New Mexico Legislature saw an increase in general funding, and more money for the Department of Athletics. However, the University is still facing enrollment shortfalls — that means less in tuition and student fees, and pressure on teacher and staff salaries. 

According to House Bill 2 (HB 2), this year UNM received $188 million from the State General Fund, which goes directly to the Instruction and General purpose fund (I&G). Those funds are used for supporting the academic mission of the University. 

Johnson Center renovation nears completion

After almost a year of construction, the redesigned Johnson Center is beginning to take shape. 

While there will be many new additions, the remodeled recreation center will not have a rock-climbing wall, a feature suggested at the start of the project.  

According to Director of Recreational Services Jim Todd, there wasn’t room in the $35 million budget for the addition.

Photo Story: The D.C. you don't see

My first time in Washington, D.C. was not special. I remember spending most of my time working in my dorm room and in the Senate Press Gallery of the Capitol building. I never saw as much as I wanted to. I walked the National Mall and went to museums dozens of times, but I never took the time to explore as much as I should. 

I visited a friend in D.C. over the break and I wanted to makeup for lost time. Instead of keeping my head down and avoiding human interaction, I made it a goal to get out and notice the small things. 

University to make decision on union petition today

On Monday, University of New Mexico officials will be releasing their response to a petition signed by over 900 faculty members across all five campuses in support of the formation of a collective bargaining unit, which was filed under the name United Academics of the University of New Mexico (UA-UNM). 

The decision will come more than a month after the petition was first delivered to President Garnett Stokes during her traveling office hours. UA-UNM allowed the University until March 18 to reach a decision

Lee Montgomery, an associate professor and member of UA-UNM, said the University essentially has three options on how to respond to the petition:

Regents discuss Athletics, union in Spring Break meeting

On a rainy Monday during Spring Break, the University of New Mexico Board of Regents discussed support for a faculty union, resurrected the Athletics cuts discussion and elected new leadership positions on the board.

Douglas “Doug” Brown was elected to regent president, Kimberly Sanchez Rael was elected vice president and secretary-treasurer went to Sandra Begay. All votes were unanimous.

This removes the mantel from both Regents Robert Doughty, and Marron Lee, former regent president and vice president respectively. They are also the only holdovers from former Gov. Susana Martinez’s appointments to the seven-member governing board. 

At the top of the meeting, the regents voted unanimously to appoint Marianne Bowers and re-appoint the UNM/Management appointee, Charlotte Lamont, to the UNM Labor Management Relations Board which governs labor negotiations. 

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