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UNM celebrates Black History Month

  Feb. 1 marked the start of Black History Month, a time to reflect, honor and appreciate the history of Black people in the United States as to further incorporate these discussions into the broader mainstream discussion outside of the month of February, according to the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. The University of New Mexico has a calendar full of events hosted by various departments to allow students to celebrate and enjoy the month.

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African-American Day at Legislature celebrates and furthers progress in New Mexico

  On Friday, Feb. 10, hundreds gathered at the state Capitol in Santa Fe to advocate for legislation that supports the Black community in the state. This was a part of African-American Day, a biannual celebration to recognize achievements in the African American community and educate on legislation which impacts them. This year’s African-American Day celebration was primarily focused on highlighting and educating on legislation surrounding African American issues. Specific legislation advocated for at the Capitol included a bill sponsored by Rep. Pameyla Herndon, the Bennie Hargrove Bill, which passed in the House on Thursday, Feb. 9. The bill would make it illegal to store a firearm so that it is not out of reach of children, according to the Albuquerque Journal.


Congressional Black Caucus meets with Biden to push for police accountability

  This story was originally published by Source New Mexico The Congressional Black Caucus met with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris Thursday evening to urge the administration to use its executive power for law enforcement reform, following criminal charges for police officers in the killing of a Black man in Memphis, Tennessee.  “My hope is this dark memory spurs some action that we’ve all been fighting for,” Biden said. Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man, was beaten by five Memphis police officers during a traffic stop on Jan. 7 and died three days later. The five police officers have been fired and indicted in connection with his death.

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ASUNM balks at ‘of’ during senate meeting

  The Associated Students at the University of New Mexico passed a bill to make more room to fund student organizations special requests during the full senate meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 8. Bill 4S gives ASUNM more flexibility to allocate money toward appropriations — one-time funding requests — and fall budgets of student orgs. Beginning this past fall, each undergraduate now pays an increased student fee of $35 per semester. Student publications receive 8.5% of the collected amount, while the remainder pays for everything ASUNM does.

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Santa Fe County Commission unanimously supports local choice energy

  On Tuesday, Jan. 31, Santa Fe county called for New Mexico state legislators and Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham to pass the Local Choice Energy Act, officially known as Senate Bill 165. A resolution in support of the legislation, sponsored by Santa Fe County Commission Chair Anna Hansen and Commissioner Camilla Bustamante, passed unanimously at Tuesday’s meeting. The act would allow municipalities, counties and tribes to generate or purchase electricity and provide it to those in their respective service area while still utilizing the transmission service from independent providers. The act seeks to introduce choice into a market that is almost entirely dominated by investor-owned utilities, according to Alysha Shaw, campaign director for Public Power New Mexico.

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New Mexico Education Department seeks to extend K-12 school year

  During the New Mexico 56th legislative session, the New Mexico Public Education Department introduced Bill 130 to the Legislative Education Committee which would add an extended school program called the K-12 Plus Program. Bill 194, which further explains the finance of the program, was also introduced to the Legislative Finance Committee. The K-12 Plus Program would provide additional program units for public schools that would increase the number of instructional days beyond 180 days for a five-day school week and more than 155 days for a four-day school week, according to the bill. This means grades K-6 would have 990 instructional hours and grades 7-12 a total of 1,080 instructional hours per school year.

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UNM Basic Needs Project grows into statewide study

 In 2020, the University of New Mexico Basic Needs Project released a study that revealed that over a third of UNM students were food insecure, and nearly two-fifths were housing insecure. This year, led by principal investigator Sarita Cargas, the team will begin a year-long study that researches these insecurities at a statewide level. The statewide survey, which went live on Feb. 1, will run until March 15. The research teams hope to get a minimum response of 10% of each institution’s population including students, faculty and staff, according to Frederick.


GPSA to introduce amendments to Graduate Scholarship Act during legislative session

 On Monday, Jan. 30. the Graduate and Professional Student Association of the University of New Mexico will present the “Amending the Graduate Scholarship Act” bill during the New Mexico 56th legislative session to the Senate Education Committee. With this bill, GPSA hopes that they can provide a scholarship that could cover up to 100% of tuition fees for all graduate students throughout the state, with priority given to New Mexico residents, according to Isaiah Torres, the GPSA political director and Shaikh Ahmad, the GPSA president.

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City opens warming center due to freezing temperatures

 Due to harsh cold weather, the city of Albuquerque opened a warming center in Mesa Verde Community Center on Monday, Jan. 23. The hours of the center ran from 7:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Katie Simons, the public affairs specialist for the Department of Family and Community Services, wrote to the Daily Lobo about the danger low temperatures can bring. “The city of Albuquerque activates daytime warming centers when the temperature is below freezing and there is high wind and/or moisture — conditions when life and limb are most at risk for people living on the street,” Simons wrote.


ASUNM approves over $30,000 for student organizations

  The Associated Students at the University of New Mexico distributed $31,545 among eight student organizations during a full senate meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 25. The senators also voted to allow themselves more flexibility on when to meet with their sponsored student organizations. All eight appropriations and the lone bill on the agenda passed unanimously, with one senator abstaining. ASUNM President Ian May told the Daily Lobo he intends to sign off on everything. Once per semester, student orgs can submit an appropriation – a request for travel funds and money for other one-time expenses, according to the ASUNM website.

Elena Gallegos, the open space area in Albuquerque, debate issues over potential creation of an education center.

Community opposes potential structure at Elena Gallegos Open Space

 The 640-acre Elena Gallegos Open Space, located in the foothills of the Sandia mountains, is currently the subject of concern among community members of the legality and consequences of a potential project from the Albuquerque parks and recreation department to create an education center in the space, according to Save the Elena Gallegos co-founders Viki Teahan and Katrina Sanchez. The potential educational center would be no larger than 5,000 square feet, according to Dave Simon, the director of the Albuquerque parks and recreation department. Since the 1960s, advocates have fought for protection of the park from development when the Albuquerque City Council began a tax to purchase the space in 1969, according to The Paper.

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City council continues to postpone decision on fate of zero-fare bussing

 The Albuquerque City Council continues to stall the final decision on whether or not to continue zero-fare bussing and replace it with a pass system, deferring the bus pass ordinance for the eighth time on Wednesday, Jan. 18. This time, a third floor substitution was presented that combined the original pass system ordinance with two other ordinances meant to add additional security measures to the transit system. The newest floor substitution has since replaced any specific language regarding fares with a study on how to equitably distribute passes. If the ordinance is passed in its current iteration, the zero-fare pilot program would continue through June, after which a study on the program with recommendations on how to continue the program as well as a cost-benefit analysis of the creation of a fare box and distribution of bus passes shall be presented to the Council by September 2023.

GALLERY: Abortion Rally Protest

Protesters call for equitable abortion access in New Mexico

 On Sunday, Jan. 22, dozens gathered outside of the University of New Mexico bookstore to call for reproductive justice on the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court case that established a constitutional right to an abortion under the privacy clause that was subsequently reversed in 2022. The rally was held in solidarity with the sister protest occurring at the same time in Clovis, New Mexico, according to Reyan Tuck, a UNM student and protest organizer. The intent was to call attention to the lack of abortion access in rural New Mexico, specifically Clovis, where the city commissioners recently passed a measure to restrict abortion access, similar to what has been done in other towns in rural New Mexico, including Hobbs, according to KRQE.

UNM legislative priorities

UNM announces goals for 2023 legislative session

 With the start of the 2023 New Mexico legislative session on Tuesday, Jan. 17, the University of New Mexico unveiled its priorities for the upcoming 2024 fiscal year. The priorities focus on research and public service project requests and general outlined goals UNM seeks to further and accomplish prior to the session’s closing at noon on Saturday, March 18. The more general legislative priorities, outlined by the University’s Office of Government and Community Relations, include recruiting and retaining current staff, faculty and health professionals; improving student support services as well as “workforce development, research and public service,” improving campus safety, retaining state-funded scholarships, improving health care and health care access, and promoting economic growth, according to the Office of Government and Community Relations.

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ASUNM to lobby for campus safety projects

 The Associated Students at the University of New Mexico plan to lobby for their capital outlay projects during opening day of the 56th session of the New Mexico Legislature on Tuesday, Jan. 17. ASUNM hopes to secure funding for three projects, all of which are centered around safety on campus. They will be decided on by the administration, with limited amounts of student input, according to ASUNM President Ian May. Each year, ASUNM decides on a project that ASUNM legislative members will lobby for in Santa Fe via a capital outlay bill, according to May.

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Grad union reaches their first contract with UNM

  The United Graduate Workers of the University of New Mexico’s first contract with UNM was ratified by the Union on Dec.16, 2022 and signed by Provost James Holloway on Dec. 22, 2022. This concludes bargaining that has been ongoing since early May, though not all are satisfied by the final agreement. The Union has been advocating for better working conditions for graduate workers at the University since 2020. After fighting for recognition as public employees from the Public Employees Labor Relation Board and having encountered numerous road blocks from the University, they were granted recognition and the right to unionize on Aug. 17, 2021.  

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UNM College of Nursing reintroduces accelerated BSN degree

  Starting the semester of fall 2023, the University of New Mexico College of Nursing will be offering an accelerated bachelor’s of science in nursing as a second degree. The application period for the program began back on December 15, according to the Health Sciences Center website. This “new” pathway will allow individuals who currently have a college degree, preferably related to science, to acquire a degree in nursing at a faster pace: 16 months rather than the traditional 20 months. The pathway will provide access to all of the resources available at the college, “including state-of-the-art simulation and skills labs steps away from the College of Nursing building,” according to the Health Sciences Center website. 

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Graduating students share their fear of the unknown after college

With fall graduation just around the corner, students graduating from the University of New Mexico and other universities alike may encounter a new set of obstacles upon completing their current college career. JahJett-Lyn Chavez will be graduating with two degrees: one in family and child studies and another in psychology. Chavez’s biggest concern after graduating is being able to pay for graduate school. Chavez intends to continue her education through the graduate program at UNM but worries about the lack of scholarships available for graduate students. She said she was able to pay the entirety of her undergraduate degrees through scholarships, but she won’t be able to do the same for her master's.

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UNM commemorates fall 2022 graduates

On Friday, Dec. 16th, students graduating from the University of New Mexico will celebrate the culmination of their undergraduate careers at The Pit for the fall 2022 commencement ceremony. “It's something that (graduating students) should be proud (of) … It's a huge accomplishment,” Nancy Middlebrook, the University secretary, said. This semester’s ceremony includes the traditional welcome by UNM President Garnett  Stokes, as well as greetings from the Board of Regents, Associated Students at UNM President Ian May, and the Graduate and Professional Student Association President Shaikh Ahmad. The ceremony will finalize with a performance by Mariachi Tenampa.

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New ordinances stall future development of safe outdoor spaces for unhoused

On Monday, Dec. 5, the Albuquerque City Council passed an ordinance on a 5-4 vote to effectively stop zoning privileges and new proposals for the creation of safe outdoor spaces, an initiative to create dedicated spaces for the unhoused to temporarily stay at and receive social service support. The Integrated Development Ordinance determines land use and establishes zoning regulations in the city of Albuquerque. This passage would remove all reference of safe outdoor spaces from the IDO, stopping future development of SOS in the city, though the two SOS that have already been approved and the three pending approval will still move forward.

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