Lobos: We urgently need your help! It’s not too late to be counted! The deadline to fill out the census is rapidly approaching (Sept. 30, 2020), and New Mexico is in danger of losing critical federal dollars. If our state loses federal funds, our University of New Mexico community loses federal funds as well.
So, what is the census, you might ask? The census is the once in a decade opportunity for us to re-shape our communities. A simple, 10-question questionnaire determines how more than $800 billion in federal funds get distributed across our country. In New Mexico alone, the 2020 census will determine how more than $7 billion per year gets distributed to our state. As students and members of the Lobo community, the census impacts us directly, as it determines how much funding is in:
• Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
• Federal student loans
• Pell Grants
• Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
• Many more programs that we and our families use
Well, here we are. The University of New Mexico’s fall semester is set to begin — barring any other crazy, life-altering event — but the semester is starting in one of the most tumultuous times in recent human history.
While we deal with political, social and economic issues, society is also grappling with the worst pandemic in recent memory. The outbreak of COVID-19 exposed a lot of holes in the infrastructure of our nation, and our universities are no different.
Overnight, students and professors were forced to embrace new, rigid realities, both in their personal and academic lives.
The University of New Mexico has had to be flexible and adapt to the impacts COVID-19. UNM asks that students be ready for possible changes during the fall semester — a semester that may have “to pivot rapidly to address changing health conditions in the State of New Mexico.”
I now ask that the students be afforded this same flexibility and accommodation when it comes to our housing contracts.
The continuation of housing cancellation fees is putting an unnecessary burden on UNM students. We had to make housing decisions well before we understood the impact that COVID-19 would have on our education and well before UNM had offered a clear picture as to what a “hybrid system” of learning would look like.
Daily Lobo comics for July 12, 2020.
While the rest of the Southwest opened up its doors and gathered for July 4 festivities and birthdays, those in the Navajo Nation and in pueblo communities remained at home.
A fraction of those who remained at home are Native American college students, including some who are students at the University of New Mexico and some who will make their college debut this fall.
When I learned that UNM was taking a hybrid approach to classes for the upcoming semester, my first thought was about those Native students and exactly how this approach would likely affect them.
As a Native student and a Native core writing instructor in the English department, I found the decision disconcerting.
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