Environmental advocates in New Mexico are gearing up for the next legislative session in January, where they will aim to pass the Green Amendment for the second time in the New Mexico Senate. The amendment would establish a constitutional right to clean air and water, as well as preservation of the land for the state.

The amendment as presented in the previous session said it would aim to protect “environmental rights, including the right to a clean and healthy environment and the right to the preservation of the environment, and directs the state to protect environmental resources for the benefit of all the people.”

 The idea for this amendment was first proposed by Maya K. Van Rossum. 


 

The University of New Mexico was ranked in the top 100 public universities for the second consecutive year in a 2022 best colleges rankings report by U.S. News and World Report. This accomplishment, ranking 99 out of 100 schools, comes after a series of critical transitions for the University over the past few years, including the installment of President Garnett Stokes in 2018 as well as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“Parents and students still look at and consider college rankings,” Vice President of Enrollment Management Dan García said. “A student who may not have considered UNM is going to see us listed (in the top 100 public universities) and dig in further, and that’s important.”

 

In light of the recent abortion ban in Texas, abortion providers in New Mexico have seen an influx of patients as many individuals travel across state lines to receive safe healthcare.

The ban in Texas prohibits all abortions six weeks after the individual’s last menstrual cycle, which is before many people even know they are pregnant at all. The law also allows anyone in the state to enforce it; individuals can sue anyone aiding in the abortion process for up to $10,000.

Eve Espey, chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynocolgy at the University of New Mexico, spoke to the Daily Lobo about what the neighboring state’s ban means for abortion providers in New Mexico.

 

At the Albuquerque city council meeting on Sept. 8, councilors voted to defer two key issues that would have individually eliminated local bus fares and placed traffic cameras to fine speeders in the city.

The deferral of the zero bus fares amendment is the second time this specific action has been deferred; the first deferment happened on Aug. 2. The amendment would be a year-long pilot program that the city has already budgeted for and funded, allowing everyone who wishes to ride a city bus to do so free for a year.

The deferral came after lots of debate in the meeting over the safety of the program and anti-homeless rhetoric. 


Injured turtle at Duck Pond dies after animal bite

 

Freshman ReElle Snyder came across an injured turtle at the Duck Pond at the University of New Mexico on Aug. 27 who had a mangled hind leg that was actively bleeding. This wound, which was caused by an animal bite, eventually led to his death, and sparked questions about how the wildlife on campus is being taken care of.

When Snyder found the turtle during a class scavenger hunt, the red-eared slider affectionately named ‘Ed’ continued suffering while she struggled to quickly find someone on campus who could provide care. Two hours after calling Bernalillo County Animal Services, an animal control officer arrived and carried Ed away in his makeshift home, a cardboard box.

Grad worker union marches to president’s house

 

The United Graduate Workers of the University of New Mexico held “Rally for Recognition” on Sept. 3 to call on the University to begin bargaining with them for their union rights. The event, which started near the Student Union Building, culminated in a march to UNM President Garnett Stokes’ house on campus to deliver a petition demanding that the University begin bargaining with the Union.

The petition, which had approximately 2,000 signatures, was presented to office staff instead of Stokes, whom staff said was at a meeting and unavailable.

New Mexico drought hinders agriculture industry

 

As increased greenhouse gases force warming and greater atmospheric retention of water in arid New Mexico, severe droughts follow. Farmers along the Rio Grande have felt the implications of less water and largely criticize regional laws and decisions that regulate state water usage for limiting access to irrigation.

The Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District board, which manages the water through dams, voted on Aug. 20 to curtail irrigation along the Rio Grande on Oct. 1. This was enacted even though the law honors Native American pueblo water rights and protects them from the shut-off, according to John Fleck, professor and director of the UNM Water Resources Program.

Resident physicians continue to bargain with UNM for better benefits

 

Bargaining for fair work conditions is ongoing between the Committee of Interns and Residents and the University of New Mexico. This union, representing all intern and resident physicians who work for UNM, is entering its third month of contract negotiations with the University.

CIR is an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union and has had a collective bargaining agreement with the University since 2007. These contract negotiations take place every three years to determine agreements on working conditions, including stipulations on salaries, benefits, supplies and more. The current agreement, which began on August 1, 2019, will expire on Aug. 31 this year.

Multi-million dollar training center to be built for UNM student-athletes

 

The University of New Mexico’s Board of Regents recently approved the New Mexico Mutual Champions Training Center, a $4.3 million project for student-athletes, on Aug. 19. This extensive training center will be exclusively for student-athlete use, replacing the tent that teams currently train in that stands as a Title IX deficiency.

The construction of this center is important in fulfilling a Title IX requirement that the University currently fails to meet, which is that more women than men are training in the 7,200-net-square-foot outdoor tent rather than in climate-controlled indoor facilities, according to UNM athletics director Eddie Nuñez. 

Autopsy and footage reveals MDC inmate’s circumstances of death

On Jan. 31, Joleen Nez, a Native American woman who was cited for the petty misdemeanor of public littering in 2020, was pronounced dead due to the toxic effects of methamphetamine according to an autopsy report filed by the Office of the Medical Investigator.

As reported in the Daily Lobo in February, Nez was cited in April of last year after she kicked over a cup and bowl at the intersection of Texas Street and Zuni Road and refused to pick up and throw away the cup — although she did throw away the bowl — according to the criminal complaint completed by Officer Preston Panana. Body camera footage shows an officer giving Nez the citation at the intersection after a verbal altercation with another individual that four officers witnessed.

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