Multiple students of color were denied entry at the Turning Point USA-sponsored “Talking With Tomi” event at the University of New Mexico Student Union Building’s Ballroom B on Thursday, Sept. 15. Students who were denied entry did have tickets but were turned away by Turning Point staff, according to Tyler Jacobs, one of the UNM students who was denied. Multiple witnesses at the event reported seeing students being denied entry. “Pretty much I was the first person of color to try to get in and then immediately after two white people came in and (the event organizers) said, ‘They look normal, they can go in’,” Jacobs said.
The Associated Students at the University of New Mexico granted over $16,000 to three student organizations during their full senate meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 14. The ASUNM senate sent three appropriations in total to the president’s desk while acknowledging that their budget for this semester is dwindling. “Our appropriation budget that we’re currently sitting at is roughly about $65,000 for the remainder of the semester,” Sofie Carillo, senator and finance committee chair, said. “I know for next week’s cycle we already have five appropriations submitted and one of them is up to $15,000 requested.”
The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center is honoring Suicide Prevention Awareness Month by presenting a full week of events for the UNM community. The week was kickstarted with an annual walk for suicide awareness on Johnson Field on Saturday, Sept. 10. Different departments and organizations were present at the walk offering resources for people dealing with mental health issues. Among the participants were Student Health and Counseling, the LGTBQ+ Resource Center, the Veteran & Military Resource Center, UNM Hospital, Agora Crisis Center and the Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico.
On Sept. 7, 2022, the Albuquerque City Council failed to override a vetoed bill which would have placed a moratorium on safe outdoor spaces for 12 months or until the amendment of the Integrated Development Ordinance. With a vote of 5-4 for overturning the veto, this project, which will provide temporary occupancy spaces for tents and vehicles as well as access to social services, will remain intact. Among the five council members who voted in favor of the overturn were Brook Bassan, Dan Lewis, Renee Grout, Clarissa Pena and Louie Sanchez. Six votes were needed to override the veto, making for a narrow win for safe outdoor spaces.
With recreational and medicinal cannabis now becoming legal in many states, the newly formed legal cannabis industry is showing an effect on many pharmaceutical firms' stock market value. Sarah Stith, a researcher at the University of New Mexico, alongside Ziemowit Bednarek and Jacqueline M. Doremus from California Polytechnic State University, published findings that pharmaceutical firms will lose billions of dollars because of cannabis sales.
The Associated Students at the University of New Mexico kicked off their first full senate meeting of the semester on Wednesday, Aug. 31. The meeting consisted of the passage of three bills, the appointment of a new senator and the approval of funding for a student organization. The first two bills, 1F and 2F, reduce the required open office hours to be held by senators from twice to once a week. Bill 2F would also add a weekly required visit to senators’ sponsored student organizations, with their total outreach hours increasing from 12 to 14 hour minimum.
The United Graduate Workers of the University of New Mexico held a walk-in on Monday, Aug. 22 to call attention to the continuous pushback they face from the University at the bargaining table and to show that, “the semester doesn’t start until the grad workers show up.” “(We’re here) to just keep showing the University that we're a strong union, that we've got a lot of very engaged members, and it would be within, you know, in their best interest to negotiate a very strong contract with us … for the health of the whole university,” Samantha Cooney, Union bargaining team member, said.
The United Graduate Workers of the University of New Mexico just wrapped up another bargaining session on Friday, Aug. 12 and are preparing for the next on Monday, Aug. 29, with a walk-in planned for Monday, Aug. 22. While the Union is making progress, they still face difficulties from the University, according to Samantha Cooney, a member of the bargaining committee. “We've made a lot of movement with the UNM bargaining team towards an agreement on what those assistantship contracts should say and how much clarity we should have the right to before starting our job duties each contract period,” Cooney said.
Muhammad Afzaal Hussain would often take his family up to Navajo Lake to try their luck catching salmon during their snagging period, which runs from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31. Muhammad Afzaal’s brother, Muhammad Imtiaz Hussain, said his brother had more than a passion, but rather an obsession for fishing.
On Monday, Aug. 8, an online forum for people associated with the University of New Mexico was held on Zoom to discuss safety on and around campus after the murders of four Muslim men across the state, including former Graudate and Professional Student Association President Muhammad Afzaal Hussain. The forum’s panel included members of UNM’s Police Department, the Albuquerque Police Department and the APD-FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, along with Tahir Gauba, the director of public affairs from the Islamic Center of New Mexico. “So, all we are asking right now to the broader community, just have each other back. You know, just be aware of your surrounding,” Gauba said.
Incoming University of New Mexico students may expect a surprise on their bursar account this semester, as the Associated Students at UNM have increased their student fee by 42%, going from $20 for full-time students to $35 per semester for all students — the first fee increase since 2002, according to ASUNM Vice President Krystah Pacheco. This fee change was passed via a constitutional amendment through last year’s ASUNM administration. It is set to increase by $5 every three years until reaching a cap of $50 per semester. The change was implemented to combat budget restraints caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and to better reflect the student government fees at peer universities, according to Pacheco.
The University of New Mexico sold its Student Family Housing apartment complex to Central New Mexico Community College in September 2021 for $1.5 million, leaving limited resources available for student parents at UNM. 26% of students enrolled in universities and colleges across New Mexico are student parents, with 44% being single mothers, according to Emily Wildau, a Research and Policy Analyst for NM Voices for Children. “There's a constant juggling of time and resources, and there's often a feeling that there's just never enough of me, of my time, of my energy and … material resources to go around. There's always ends that don't meet and needs that aren't met.” Melissa Bendt, a graduate worker, student and parent in the American studies program at UNM, said.
On June 24, the United States Supreme Court released their opinion in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case. The opinion overturned both Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, two landmark cases which affirmed the constitutional right to an abortion. For people in every state across the country, including New Mexico, the decision raises questions as to the legality of abortion for where they live.
As election day nears, abortion rights are primed to remain a hot campaign topic. Even in states like New Mexico where there are no restrictions on the medical procedure, candidates can count on voters taking their stance on the issue into consideration, according to University of New Mexico political science professor Gabriel Sanchez. “Local elected officials using this as a mechanism to win votes: that's the reality. Because typically, to be honest with you, abortion has not been a top voting issue for a large segment of voters in New Mexico as long as I've been tracking … That might change in November because the Supreme Court decision just made it much more of a big topic,” Sanchez said.
On June 2, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service — alongside the New Mexico and Arizona Game and Fish departments — signed a letter of intent to work collaboratively on protecting the Mexican gray wolf. This letter of intent comes right before the five-year recovery update that is due from the 2017 Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Plan, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Public Affairs specialist Aislinn Maestas. “(We are) coming together to reaffirm, but also put into a formalized agreement, that we are committed to recovering Mexican wolves, both in the United States and historical areas in Mexico,” Maestas said.
Researchers at the University of New Mexico were recently awarded more than $3 million to continue studying aging in chimps. The funding, awarded by the National Advisory Council on Aging through a Method to Extend Research in Time award, will last five years with the possibility of a three to five year extension. The research has been led by the Comparative Human and Primate Physiology Center co-director Melissa Emery Thompson. “This project, going from 2015 to potentially 2027, really gives us excellent longitudinal coverage of the different health parameters that we're looking at,” Emery Thompson said.
On the evening of Thursday, July 14, dozens of protesters gathered at the corner of Wyoming Boulevard and Central Avenue to rally and march in support of defunding the police. The rally and march come after 15-year-old Brett Rosenau was killed in a house fire during an Albuquerque Police Department SWAT standoff. Paula Arrietta was one of the cop watchers present on the evening of July 6 and documented the destruction that left Rosenau dead and a house demolished. “It was heart-wrenching, watching the family. I mean, just watching their emotions … They were losing everything,” Arrietta said.
On Thursday, July 14, the United Graduate Workers of the University of New Mexico held a picket line where they confronted members of the UNM bargaining team as they walked into the building where Thursday’s bargaining meeting would be held. The picket served as a call to action on a nondiscrimination clause that the University continues to push back on. “UNM calls itself a Hispanic-serving institution, and they care about diversity, and they care so much about examining the different types of people on campus. However, they have absolutely no way of protecting those people when they actually are discriminated against,” Union bargaining team member Samantha Cooney said.
Protesters gathered outside of the University of New Mexico Bookstore on Sunday, July 10 in response to the killing of Brett Rosenau, a 15-year-old who died in a house fire during an Albuquerque Police Department and APD SWAT standoff. The cause of death was smoke inhalation, with APD Chief Harold Media acknowledging possible fault for the fire, according to the Albuquerque Journal.
Friday, June 24 saw an unprecedented shift in the political landscape of the United States with the Supreme Court’s decision in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case. The decision overruled both Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, revoking the constitutional right to an abortion and opening the door for states and lawmakers to ban the procedure. The constitutional protection of an abortion was argued under the Fifth and 14th amendments in what is called the due process clause which states that, “nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law,” under the 14th amendment.