The University of New Mexico is encouraging all Lobos to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to campus for the fall semester on Aug. 23. The University has set a 100% vaccination rate goal after forgoing a campus-wide vaccine mandate.

“I look forward to challenging and inspiring ourselves and our fellow Lobos to reach for that 100% in the coming weeks,” UNM President Garnett Stokes wrote in a campus-wide message on July 8.

The University has an ongoing incentive program that offers students and employees the chance for cash prizes in exchange for proof of vaccination. 


 

When the University of New Mexico decided to forgo a COVID-19 vaccine requirement and instead encourage a 100% vaccination rate goal for the upcoming semester, controversy erupted through the student body and students are still deciding whether or not they feel safe with the administration’s decisions.

In May, the University drafted a vaccine mandate policy that would have required most students, staff and faculty to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 but has since abandoned the idea since the vaccine is still classified under Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA.

On Thursday, the University of New Mexico announced a reward-based incentive program to encourage students and employees to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations in order to “Vax the Pack.” After uploading proof of vaccination, students will receive $100 via bursar account, and main and branch campus employees will be entered into a drawing for one of 50 $1,000 prizes.

This money is available through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. Students must be registered for the upcoming fall semester to qualify.

“We want all Lobos feeling as safe and supported as we possibly can,” President Garnett Stokes wrote in a campus communications email on Thursday. 

 

Protection of the First Amendment in high school has long been debated, and the Supreme Court often rules against the protections of the student. This just solidifies the feeling of powerlessness so many teenagers feel by eroding what should be their fundamental rights to free speech and free expression. Facing such a maelstrom, small victories should be celebrated wherever they may come.

Last month, one such victory arrived with the news of the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of Brandi Levy, a Pennsylvania high school girl whose words — specifically, “fuck school, fuck softball, fuck cheer, fuck everything” — were reaffirmed as protected under the First Amendment.


UA-UNM’s first contract with University admin begins July 1

 

On July 1, the landmark contract between the United Academics of the University of New Mexico (UA-UNM) and UNM will go into effect, marking the first active bargaining agreement between the Union and the school’s administration over terms and conditions of employment. Both UA-UNM and UNM’s bargaining unit have signed the agreement, and the Union is in the process of finalizing the contract language.

The contract, ratified on June 11, is split into two units for faculty: Unit 1, which covers different levels of professors, lecturers and instructors, and Unit 2, which accounts for temporary part-time instructors, adjuncts and term teaching faculty.

Three-day Juneteenth celebration in ABQ commemorates new federal holiday

Music, dance and empowerment floated through Albuquerque as Burqueños showed up to celebrate Juneteenth over a three-day period at Civic Plaza. The event, entitled “To a Higher Ground,” lasted from June 18 to June 20.

Juneteenth commemorates the announcement of the emancipation of enslaved people in America on June 19. The holiday originated in Texas in 1865, when the 1862 Emancipation Proclamation was applied after the end of the Civil War.

The theme for Albuquerque’s celebration this year was “Ujamaa,” or the idea of cooperative economics based on democratic principles and participation. The City of Albuquerque’s website said the event was meant to “celebrate Black-owned businesses, artisans, vendors, performers and more.”

Hispanic fraternal order sues Santa Fe Mayor over obelisk removal decision

 

On June 17, the Union Protectíva de Santa Fé announced their plans to sue the city of Santa Fe and Mayor Alan Webber for the decision to remove the Soldiers’ Monument, the obelisk in the center of Santa Fe Plaza.

The lawsuit comes after Webber’s call to remove the obelisk back in June 2020, and after a group of protestors tore down part of the obelisk during a demonstration on Indigenous Peoples Day last October. There is not yet a timeline for the removal. 

 “What our lawsuit seeks is an injunction preventing the mayor from replacing this historic obelisk with anything other than repairing it and restoring it,” attorney Ken Stalter said at a press conference on June 17.

Stansbury sworn into Congress after special election victory

 

WASHINGTON D.C. — On June 14, Democrat Melanie Stansbury, former representative for the 28th District for the New Mexico House of Representatives, was sworn into the U.S. House of Representatives to represent New Mexicans in the state’s 1st Congressional District. 

In the ceremony, Stansbury was sworn in by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Stansbury then gave a speech on the house floor, where she was flanked by New Mexico Senators Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Luján, as well as Washington Senator Maria Cantwell. 

Despite $10M federal bailout, UNM athletics budget remains in deficit

 

At the height of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, the University of New Mexico’s Athletics budget was left bleeding. University Stadium sat eerily quiet, devoid of cheering fans, the air notably lacking the smell of concession hot dogs and beer, and The Pit’s blaring airhorn, once signaling the end of a decisive quarter, lay silent. And a massive, multi-million dollar deficit loomed amid the empty stands.

But the U.S. government offered a saving grace in late December: federal stimulus money allocated for colleges and universities through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds II (HEERF II). 

UNM’s proposed COVID-19 vaccine policy draws support, objections and legal questions

The University of New Mexico revealed a draft proposal on May 3 that would require COVID-19 vaccinations of most students, staff and faculty in order to attend the University in person for the coming fall semester, drawing both praise and scrutiny from UNM community members.

The short proposal has not received a final ruling from the University administration. Instead, UNM’s “Bring Back the Pack” website has installed a feedback button alongside the link to the proposal, encouraging those who read it to provide their thoughts.

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