Should DWI Checkpoints Be Allowed in New Mexico?

The New Mexico Court of Appeals recently ruled that police sobriety (DWI) checkpoints are constitutional as long as the police “try” to publicize it. They keyword here is “try.”

In 2013, the New Mexico State Police sent a notice of their DWI checkpoint to a nonworking email address at a small radio station. Obviously the “notice” was never publicized.

According to the Albuquerque Journal, Albuquerque police DWI Sgt. Kyle Curtis said in a statement, “What the media does with the press release and or the media release is out of our hands.”

That statement is just ridiculous. The New Mexico State Police (and other Departments) know what they are doing. The Court of Appeals ruling will allow Departments to “try” and publicize notice in the most obscure ways possible.

I am not condoning Driving While Intoxicated in New Mexico. I cannot and will not condone drunk driving. DWI has destroyed far too many lives. If you must drink, have a designated driver or call an Uber to pick you up.

On the other hand, I cannot and will not condone illegal search and seizure. The Police are public servants and should be required to make a reasonable attempt to uphold the constitution. There should be a reasonableness test required when attempting to “publicize” the sobriety checkpoints. That seems like a fair requirement for Police Departments.

In the end, it may not matter one-way or the other because the Court ruled, “a lack of advance publicity, without more, is simply not sufficient to find that a DWI checkpoint constitutes an illegal seizure.

I guess we will have to wait and see if the New Mexico Supreme Court decides to hear the case. What do you think about this case or DWI checkpoints in general?

#OurUNM and the New Student Movement

OurUNM unity

To paraphrase a famous quote, the wind of change is blowing through New Mexico. Whether they (those in power) like it or not, this growth of community consciousness is a political fact. The gentle breeze of unrest has rapidly increased into a typhoon of outrage and disgust. Citizens across New Mexico are organizing to fight political corruption, police brutality, inequality, and injustice. In the same regard, students at the University of New Mexico are organizing to demand accountability, transparency, equity, and inclusion.

A student and community group called #OurUNM has emerged as the voice of the students and has forced the administration to listen. #OurUNM gathered in front of the UNM Bookstore on Wednesday, April 23rd and conducted a rally in which over 100 students attended. The group had multiple speakers address the crowd concerning multiple university related issues. After an hour of rallying, the group decided to respectfully march through campus, the Student Union Building, and to UNM President Frank’s office.

Contrary to some reports,the march was peaceful and respectful the entire time. The marchers maintained a quiet tone while marching through the SUB and made very little noise in the President’s office. Once they packed into the office, they hand delivered a list of demands for equity, accountability, transparency, and inclusion to the President’s Chief of Staff.

OurUNM Packs Office

On Friday, April 25th, #OurUNM students attended a Student Fee forum conducted by the UNM Student Body President and the Graduate and Professional Student Association President. The forum focused on President Frank’s broken promise to give students a voice in how student fees are allocated. President Frank removed all student input from the student fee allocation to athletics ($4 million) and libraries ($780,000). The only voice that remains for the students will be in the remaining student fee allocation that must be split amongst every other organization in the university.

OurUNM MannyOurUNM Chris

Multiple media outlets attended the forum and interviewed students from #OurUNM. Apparently, the media attention caused a panic in the administration which forced President Frank to release a statement that afternoon:

Dear students –

Student engagement in shared governance is critical to the success of any university, especially to a public research university such as UNM. During this spring semester, in particular, I have heard from a number of formal and informal student organizations, as well as individual students, that we need to find additional ways to ensure that all voices can be heard in order to maintain an accountable, inclusive and transparent community.

I believe in continuous improvement. We can always do better and commit ourselves to finding solutions rather than providing excuses. In order to hear more student voices, the Provost and I propose the creation of a student cabinet as an additional way to engage with students. This cabinet would facilitate communication with a broader cross-section of our students, both undergraduate and graduate. It would act as a forum for discussion on campus issues important to students, such as academic affairs, student affairs,  financial and other critical issues, with the goal of bettering our institution.

 The Student Cabinet is in no way intended to interfere with the operation and structure of our Student Governments, and will not replace the current formal representation from our elected student leaders.  However, it will allow for an additional sounding board for students and the administration to communicate on all aspects of the student experience.

 Over the next week, we will be announcing the process for nominations and applications for the Student Cabinet. I am looking forward to improving the level of student engagement and would like to thank our students for their passion and involvement in our university.

Go Lobos!

 Robert G. Frank,


On top of his condescending email to the students, President Frank went on to conduct more damage control in the media. He minimized and belittled the student Movement on KOAT News. He stated that the Movement only consisted of 2 small official student groups and a few students who are part of an unofficial student group. In his mind, “It is only about 1000 students being vocal, while the other 31,000 [students] are going to class.” President Frank went on to “clarify” that the students are just “confused and misinformed”. He took the opportunity to tout his “brilliant” idea of a new “Student Cabinet” with which he will meet 2 times a semester to get student input.

He was also kind enough to do an interview on KRQE News in which he said that there are “more important stakeholders” than the students. Once again, he took the opportunity to pat himself on the back and announce his “Student Cabinet” idea. According to KRQE ,President Frank said “even though he won’t be going through the Student Fee Review Board for athletic and library fees,” he’s “put together a new student cabinet.” Therefore, “I’m going to get more input from more students so, I think the concern that they’re not going to get input is wrong. I’m going to get more input from more students about this.”

Amazingly, KOB News focused on the student perspective, but President Frank provided a statement to them in which he once again mentions his wonderful idea of a “Student Cabinet”.

It is clear that President Frank thinks very little of student input, student Movements, and believes that he can make it all just go away with a “Student Cabinet”. The idea is ridiculous and to make matters worse, students were not consulted at all. How can a “Student Cabinet” exist if students did not create it? How can students expect to be heard if they were not involved in any aspect of this idea?

Obviously, President Frank sent the message out after the forum to have evidence and talking points when he addressed the media. He wants the public to believe that he has been thinking about the situation for a long time and has developed a well thought out solution. It is pure propaganda and proof that he will never care about the students as much as the “other stakeholders”.

Students and community members will come together and show President Frank and the media that this Movement is not just a few confused students being vocal. They will reject his “Student Cabinet” idea and demand that he sit down at the table for negotiations with them. THE STUDENTS AND THE COMMUNITY WILL NOT BE SILENCED AND WILL CONTROL HOW THIS PROCESS MOVES FORWARD.

The winds of change are at typhoon strength and must continue to blow. #OurUNM is not going to roll over and play dead just because of a ridiculous proposal by President Frank. Take back our university and demand real change. Join the Movement and find us on Facebook

Also, please read this positive article about Student Movements across New Mexico:

SFCC Illegally Denies GED Recipients the Lottery Scholarship

Sometimes individuals decide that they want to have a better life. That is why they decide to take their GED. They may have had circumstances which made graduating high school impossible, but that doesn’t mean that they are failures. Many New Mexico residents have completed their GED’s in the last few month’s in an attempt to start college. They realize that the economy is tough and a college degree can open doors of opportunity that are currently closed to them. Unfortunately, Santa Fe Community College unlawfully denies them the New Mexico Legislative Lottery Scholarship that they are entitled to. SFCC stomps on their dreams before they get a chance to start.

Last week, one such recipient received her official scores. She broke down crying tears of joy. She had dropped out of high school almost 10 years ago to help take care of her younger sisters and assist her parents with the bills. She is now a mother of 2 children who works at Wal-Mart for slightly above minimum wage. She is a first generation Mexican-American who wants to fulfill hers parents dreams and provide an example for her children to follow. She is planning on attending Santa Fe Community College, but SFCC seems to not want her there.

This student is a very low income individual and cannot afford to attend SFCC without the Lottery Scholarship. She was under the impression that GED recipients who enroll in College the first semester after GED completion are eligible for the Lottery Scholarship. She is correct in that assumption. The New Mexico Legislature authorizes GED recipients to receive the Lottery Scholarship under those circumstances. It does not matter how many years an individual is out of school, they are entitled to the Lottery Scholarship.

SFCC does not see it that way and told her so. They said that she only gets the Lottery Scholarship if she attended college the first semester after high school graduation. SFCC told her that she was misinformed and out of luck. She was devastated and felt like her dream was over.

The Daily Loco calls upon Senator Linda Lopez and other Legislators to address this issue immediately. The next semester of College is fast approaching and these GED recipients may skip college due to bad advice. They need help now. Show us that you are all politicians for the people. The Lottery Scholarship may be in danger of going broke, but that is not their fault. It is your fault. As the Daily Loco has stated before, there is plenty of money available for the Lottery Scholarship. We, as New Mexican’s, just need to get our priorities straight. Let’s give a voice to the voiceless.

Please voice your concerns to Senator Linda Lopez: @lopez4gov

Senator Howie Morales: @morales4nm

New College for Social Transformation Proposed at UNM


UNM degrees enter realm of nonsensical

“I WOULD LIKE to suggest that the proposed College for Social Transformation at UNM be named instead the College of Academically Marginal and Outright Nonsensical Programs.”


Help current, not bogus, UNM programs

“WOULDN’T OUR tax dollars be better spent on existing colleges at UNM — especially teacher prep — than on the new “College for Social Transformation” with all of its bogus degrees? Also, how are kids with degrees in African, Chicano, peace, women, etc., studies going to pay off their student loans?”


These are reader comments related to an Albuquerque Journal article concerning a proposed College of Social Transformation at UNM. These opinions seem to indicate that any program at UNM that studies cultural or liberal arts is worthless and pointless. The new College (CST) is not proposing anything new. Almost every other university in the U.S. recognizes the importance of programs like Chicano/a Studies, Africana Studies, Women’s Studies, Asian Studies, Peace Studies, Sustainability Studies, and other such programs. They give these programs control over faculty hiring, budgets, and curriculum. UNM is one of the few that does not recognize these departments as important. Although these programs exist, they are separated into different colleges and have very little power. They are controlled by other College’s and are treated as “stepchildren” in those College’s. They are not taken seriously. Please take the time to support the CST movement by writing letters to the editor, letters to UNM president Frank, and letters of support to your representatives. Join us on Facebook at UNM College for Social Transformation.

Here is the recap of the first community meeting at UNM:

On Wednesday, November 13th, an event took place that could dramatically alter the future of students at the University of New Mexico and the communities that they come from. Faculty members, students, and community members gathered at the Law School to discuss the creation of the College of Social Transformation. The proposed College will encompass Chicana and Chicano Studies, Africana Studies, Native American Studies, Women Studies, Peace Studies, and Sustainability Studies and other campus units. Faculty representatives stated that it is time for the University to recognize the significance of ethnic, gender and cultural studies programs that play an integral part in the strengthening of communities in New Mexico.
The proposed College of Social Transformation will bring academic, research and student services units under one umbrella. The College will provide these programs with more autonomy and freedom to make decisions that impact their growth and development. In a CST college structure, these programs can initiate budget decisions and hire and promote of full-time, tenure-track faculty. UNM is one of the few tier 1 campuses in the U.S. whose structure does not provide these decision-making abilities to programs like Women Studies, Africana Studies and Chicana and Chicano Studies.  The departments also want to build a curriculum that involves more university/community collaboration. They argue that developing programs that focus on community issues will give students a sense of belonging and purpose during their undergraduate years.
The forum attendees were asked to get into small groups to formulate 2 questions directed to the panel of faculty. Most of the questions centered on the university/community partnership. Other questions gravitated towards the College leadership structure and budget concerns. The faculty acknowledged that they have discussed a new type of power structure in which all units have an equal say in leadership decisions, but they also understand that the university would be more comfortable with a traditional college structure under the supervision of a Dean. Members of the student body were concerned with where the College would be housed and requested a central location.
The CST group reported that the Provost approved the concept for a College for Social Transformation,, which allowed the faculty to reach out to the community. The current timeline has the official proposal being submitted by Fall 2014 and the launch of the College of Social Transformation by the school year 2015-2016. For more information contact505-277-3917 or
Find us on Facebook at UNM College for Social Transformation
Check out the news coverage at by the Albuquerque Journal