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Grad Walk In

UNM grad workers hold walk-in amid University bargaining

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.

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Grad union bargaining reaches tension over retracted raises, grievance clause

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.

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UNM holds safety forum following deaths of Muslim individuals

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.

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ASUNM student fee raised for the upcoming semester

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.

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University lacks support for student parents

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.

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History of abortion legislation in New Mexico

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.

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Abortion to play key role in November elections

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.

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Conservation agencies sign letter of intent for Mexican wolf recovery

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.

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UNM researchers awarded grant to study aging in apes

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.


Community continues to protest APD in wake of death during SWAT standoff

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.

Grad Union Picket

Grad union holds picket to confront UNM bargaining committee over nondiscrimination clause

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.

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Community protests death of 15-year-old during house fire, SWAT standoff

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.

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UNM professors provide perspectives on Roe overturn

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. 

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Wildlife protection groups seek legal action over Mexican gray wolves

Multiple conservation groups have filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, citing concerns for the Mexican gray wolves. The groups, which include WildEarth Guardians, Western Watersheds Project, Wildlands Network, New Mexico Wilderness Alliance and the Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project, claim the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service failed to create an adequate rule that provides enough protections for the endangered species.


In aftermath of shootings, Lobo Village residents fear for their safety

On June 11 and 19, shootings occurred at 11:15 p.m. and 12:15 a.m., respectively,  on the premises of Lobo Village, a University of New Mexico student housing apartment complex located on South Campus. The shootings and response have brought up safety concerns among residents. No one was injured during either shooting, although there was property damage reported.

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Redistricting committee concludes meetings, maps off to city council

The redistricting committee met for the final time on the evening of Wednesday, June 29, voting to send all eight proposed maps to the Albuquerque City Council for consideration. The committee also sent a ranked vote of the eight maps to the council, with concept map A having the most support. The maps and rankings will not be heard by the full City Council until their first meeting in September. Councilors do not have a deadline on a decision, and could still alternatively create their own map, according to Petra Morris, associate director of planning and policy development.

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Grad union continues bargaining process with UNM

The United Graduate Workers of the University of New Mexico met with the University's bargaining team on June 23 through 25 to further discuss the Union’s contract. Pushback from the University continued with further debate over a nondiscrimination clause, employee contracts and disciplinary discharge. “(A nondiscrimination clause) is codifying certain protections that, as we can see with Roe v. Wade being struck down and all these other Supreme Court (cases), (are not) guaranteed rights … We know that despite UNM’s claims, federal and state laws can’t take the place of (a) solid nondiscrimination clause in the contract,” Union member Joe Ukockis said.

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UNM receives prestigious Department of Energy awards

Nuclear energy research is set to explode at the University of New Mexico as several nuclear engineering professors’ projects were awarded grant money as a part of the Department of Energy’s Nuclear Energy University Program. Directly awarded to UNM was an estimated $625,000 over five years to fund nuclear engineering professor Minghui Chen for his research proposal, “Advanced Reactors Integral and Separate Effects Tests,” where he will perform safety tests to validate the usage of two different types of reactors. Chen hopes the research will support “the expanded use of clean nuclear energy worldwide,” and aims to emphasize training for underrepresented minorities.

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Keller looks toward Albuquerque’s horizon in State of the City address

On Saturday, June 25, Albuquerque residents gathered at the newly refurbished Rail Yards to listen to the annual remarks on the state of the city by Mayor Tim Keller. His remarks focused on the city’s recent efforts toward combating crime, homelessness and climate change in response to the last few years of national and local instability. In response to an increase in criminal incidents over the COVID-19 pandemic, Keller’s administration has increased funding to the Albuquerque Police Department this year by $50 million. This money is to be used for new technology such as automated speed cameras, gunshot detection technology and digital crime enforcement, according to Deputy Chief of Police Cecily Parker. 

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