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UNM Children’s Hospital gives away free gun locks to community

While supplies last, The University of New Mexico Children's Hospital is giving away free gun locks – devices that prevent firearms from discharging – upon request in response to the recent rise in gun-related injuries to children. The program is in collaboration with the New Mexico Department of Health, which provided UNM Children's Hospital with 3,000 gun locks. Additional shipments from the NMDOH to UNMCH locations across the state are available for free upon request, according to

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LoboEats app targets food insecurity with free event leftovers

This past February, the University of New Mexico launched LoboEats, a mobile app created to help connect students and faculty on Main Campus with available, free, leftover food from campus events. The LoboEats app was developed by a team of Honors students led by Sarita Cargas, UNM Honors College Associate Professor to help combat food insecurity at the University. In 2022, the app created by UNM alum Biraj Silwal won the UNM and Central New Mexico Community College Mobile App Contest. 

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NMSUPD uses body-cameras; UNMPD doesn’t

The New Mexico State University Police Department has been utilizing body-worn cameras since 2011. The University of New Mexico Police Department has not. NMSUPD began using body-worn cameras in response to industry standards and best nationwide law enforcement practices, according to Justin Dunivan, Deputy Chief of NMSUPD. “This program has been a great success for our department,” Dunivan said.

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Albuquerque brings the energy to affordable transportation

As of Feb. 22, Albuquerque residents will now be able to rent affordable electric vehicles (EV) through the GoForth Affordable Mobility Platform car-sharing program. The average price of a new EV in 2024 is around $50,798, according to Find My Electric. The program allows people to rent electric vehicles for $5 per hour or $50 per day plus tax, according to Stefenie Griggs, the program manager for Forth’s locations in the Southwest. “We fully recognize that new EVs aren't totally accessible for all folks, and especially if you're talking about folks that are low income. The program is meant to bridge that gap in access to EVs to make sure everyone can have access to clean and sustainable transportation,” Griggs said.

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Students stand in support of Palestine at Regents meeting

On the afternoon of Feb. 15, Protesters entered the Board of Regents meeting and stood silently along the walls, donning keffiyehs, Palestinian Flags and stickers that read “Freedom for Palestine” to stand united with those speaking in support of a divestment resolution. Just before dozens of protesters walked out of class and gathered at Zimmerman Plaza to listen to speakers discuss the ongoing crises in Gaza, they marched throughout the University of New Mexico ringing chants of “No Peace on Stolen Land” and “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free” across campus.


New graduation requirements give high school students increased flexibility

Next year’s high school freshmen will see different graduation requirements due to a bill signed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Feb. 9. The new requirements seek to increase school attendance and graduation rates by giving students more choices in the classes they take, according to Lujan Grisham’s press release. “High school should be about preparing students for the real world while providing more opportunities to pursue their unique interests and future careers,” Lujan Grisham said in the press release.


College affirmative consent bill heads to governor’s desk

The New Mexico Senate passed an amended bill Tuesday, Feb. 13 that would require state-funded colleges to include affirmative consent in their policies and procedures on sexual activity. House Bill 151, sponsored by Rep. Elizabeth Thomson (D) and four other House Democrats, defines affirmative consent as “affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity.” Affirmative consent cannot be given by a party who is unconscious or incapacitated, cannot be implied or assumed and can be revoked at any time, according to the bill. “With this, I’m hoping that particularly women – but everyone – realizes that their body belongs to them. They don’t owe anybody anything. Taking you out for dinner doesn’t mean you owe them sex. Being their girlfriend doesn’t mean you owe them sex,” Thomson said.

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Taylor Swift incident draws attention to AI-generated pornography

Since the rise of Artificial Intelligence and ChatGPT’s release in 2022, victims have been targeted by pornographic AI-generated images that have, in some cases, circulated on social media websites like X, formerly Twitter. Deepfakes are videos or images in which a person’s “face or body has been digitally altered so that they appear to be someone else, typically used maliciously or to spread false information,” according to Oxford Languages. Recently, these have risen in the form of pornographic images. In late January, pornographic AI-generated images of Taylor Swift started to circulate the internet and gained thousands of views on X, according to the Associated Press. Mary Rice, associate professor of literacy at the University of New Mexico, specializes in AI’s role in education. The Swift incident was not a random act that sprung up on its own, Rice said.


Syphilis rates rise in New Mexico

New Mexico had the second highest syphilis rate in the United States in 2022 and ranked highest in the nation for congenital syphilis – an infection that occurs when a mother passes syphilis on to their fetus through pregnancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease caused by a bacteria that produces sores on the infected person. If left untreated, the bacteria can invade the nervous system, according to the CDC. Syphilis cases are rare but increasing, as seen in CDC data.

The Setonian

Legislation similar to unconstitutional ordinance proposed in Santa Fe

A New Mexico senator has proposed a bill that would make the act of seeking or providing roadside donations illegal. Similar City legislation was previously struck down in a court of appeals. In 2017, the City of Albuquerque tried to instate an ordinance that would ban the same. Courts later deemed the legislation a violation of Freedom of Speech in Martin v. City of Albuquerque. The current legislation, Senate Bill 248, is sponsored by Senator Leo Jaramillo (D). The Bill is scheduled to be heard on Monday, Feb. 5 by the Senate Health Public Affairs Committee and was deemed appropriate for the short legislative session on Thursday, Feb. 1. This bill is supported by the Governor of New Mexico, Michelle Lujan Grisham.

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UNM researchers send tomatoes to space

University of New Mexico researchers sent tomatoes to space in an endeavor called the Trichoderma Associated Space Tomato Inoculation Experiment (TASTIE). On Tuesday, Jan. 30, the tomato seedlings were launched in a partially reusable Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket into space and joined the International Space Station (ISS) on Thursday, Feb. 1, according to Everyday Astronaut. The purpose of TASTIE is to analyze how these tomatoes will grow in space compared to how they grow on Earth. The fungus, Trichoderma – common in all types of soils on Earth – will be utilized to study how the stress-resistant properties of the fungus impact the growth of tomatoes in space, according to UNM Newsroom.

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LoboAlert issued for traffic following stabbing

On Friday, Jan. 26, a stabbing occurred inside the Golden Pride restaurant on Lomas Blvd. N.E. near the University of New Mexico campus. The UNM Police Department issued a LoboAlert for traffic following the incident. Employee Ethan Sheppard reportedly stabbed his coworker, an adult male, at about 1:45 p.m. while they were both working. The victim was transported to UNM Hospital and later died from his injuries, according to an Albuquerque Police Department news release. UNM Police Department issued a LoboAlert at 6:25 p.m. advising the campus community of police presence in the area. A second alert was issued at 10:45 p.m. advising that APD had cleared the area.


Mexican gray wolf compensation proposals move in Santa Fe

Two identical proposals to pay New Mexico ranchers for damages from incidents involving Mexican gray wolves cleared their first committee hurdles. Senate Bill 26 and House Bill 164 share identical language and bipartisan support between each chamber. The bills seek a $9 million appropriation that would direct the New Mexico Department of Agriculture to form partnerships with livestock loss authorities in Catron, Sierra and Socorro counties that would give direct payments to ranchers who lose livestock due to Mexican gray wolves in the areas. If approved, the money would go to the Board of Regents at New Mexico State University. It seeks an appropriation starting in 2025 through 2027.

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New bill hopes to protect renters and buyers from income discrimination

A new bill, introduced in New Mexico’s 2024 Regular Legislative Session, is targeting the issue of housing discrimination based on a renter or buyer’s source of income. House Bill 25 – presented by Representative Kathleen Cates (D), Andrea Romero (D), Patricia Roybal Caballero (D) and Cristina Parajón (D) – would amend the state’s Human Rights Act to prohibit the refusal to sell or rent property to someone based on their income source, defined in the bill as “a lawful and verifiable source of money used to pay for housing.”

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ASUNM back to business

The Associated Students at the University of New Mexico held their opening full Senate meeting for the spring semester on Wednesday, Jan. 24 where appropriations, new senator appointments and a bill introduction took place. ASUNM welcomed two new faces to the Senate floor. Sen. Sierra Dedmon and Sen. Nathan Nail. They were both granted their seats via a roll call vote of Senators that were present prior to any other business taking place. Dedmon and Nail were able to vote on all business during the meeting.

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The Air Board sticks to the status quo

The First Judicial District Court has granted the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board a preliminary injunction until the legality of the case is decided at the next scheduled hearing. A preliminary injunction will allow the Air Board to revert to the status quo and continue to operate as it had before the Albuquerque City Council approved an ordinance and resolution that substantially changed the Air Board in November. “I so find that the Air Board is likely to prevail ultimately on this, and I do have concerns about allowing a situation to proceed that may be unlawful,” District Court Judge Francis Mathew said in the ruling.


UNM law school educates high schoolers on constitutional rights

Each year, the University of New Mexico School of Law students go to local high schools to teach constitutional law through the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project. After observing a national decline in civic education, the program was conceptualized by professors at American University 25 years ago in Washington, D.C., Maryam Ahranjan said, director of the UNM chapter of the project and School of Law professor. Currently, only seven U.S. states require a full year of civics education, not including New Mexico, according to the Institute for Citizens and Scholars. 

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Air Quality Control Board v. City of Albuquerque

The Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board is taking the City of Albuquerque to court per a lawsuit filed on Dec. 5. In November, the Albuquerque City Council abolished and recreated the Air Quality Control Board which removed city-appointed members and suspended the board's actions till Feb. 1. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, the Board's attorney, is calling the legality of these actions into question. The hearing is set for Jan. 25. If the Board is successful, there will be a pause on the City Council’s changes and the terminated Board members will be reinstated until the court makes a final judgment on the legality of the legislation. If the Board loses the lawsuit, the City’s changes would go into effect.


Air Quality Board adopts variation of HEEI rule

The Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board adopted a Health, Environment, and Equity Impacts rule on Dec. 19, 2023. The rule is different and less aggressive than the original version introduced by Mountain View Coalition – a community group of residents concerned with the impacts of air pollution in the South Valley. The rule enforces the use of additional measures through the Best Available Control Technology (BACT) to reduce pollution in and within a mile of overburdened areas, along with any facility in Bernalillo County that emits common hazardous air pollutants.

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