WTF? Is UNM President Frank Really Considering These 2 Stupid Ideas?

 

Yosemite Frank

 

How many stupid ideas can the UNM administration come up with this year? Here are 2 absolutely moronic ideas that top the list for 2014. I know that President Frank may not be responsible for all of them…but our story needs a villain and he is it. (PLUS, #WhatTheFrank sounds really cool)

STUPID IDEA #1: Hurting underrepresented & low income students

Recently, NMSU decided that raising admission standards to a 2.75 GPA is a good idea. For some stupid reason, UNM is considering making the exact same change to its admission standards.

Don’t get me wrong, I realize that there must be some type of admission standards in place at major universities. But, by utilizing both a higher GPA and standardized test scores, many minorities/ lower-income students will not be able to attend UNM.

In 2009, UNM admitted that GPA’s alone are sufficient in determining academic ability. In a report to the LESC, UNM testified:

“The high school GPA increase is the preferred choice for improving preparation as opposed to utilizing a minimum score on a standardized college entrance exam such as ACT or SAT. Not only is the high school GPA considered more predictive of college success but the de-emphasis of test scores in favor of curriculum and GPA assists the University in maintaining a strong commitment to access and diversity since this approach has less of an impact on underrepresented populations.

So…if they want to increase GPA requirements, they MUST get rid of ACT or SAT score requirements. In the same report, they brag:

“The University of New Mexico has admirably resisted implementing a minimum test score requirement to be admitted.”

It’s funny how bureaucrats change their tune so quickly. How was a bad idea a few years ago now considered a good idea? I know…Money talks.

King Frank

STUPID IDEA #2: Making it difficult for the AVERAGE New Mexico child to be admitted

In the report, UNM testified that:

No New Mexico beginning freshman will be denied admission to UNM”

To begin with…that is absolutely hilarious! According to the PED and a complaint filed by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) the average ACT score in New Mexico is 17 as opposed to the national average of 25.

On top of that, the test adversely impacts minorities: 78% of New Mexican Caucasians met the college readiness benchmarks in English while only 49% of Latino, 28% of Native Americans, and 53% of African American students did.

Currently, UNM “requires” students that are accepted who score below 17 to enroll in the Early Start Program. The students are required to take 6 credit hours the summer before Freshman semester starts. If they do not complete the 6 hours, they will not officially be admitted into UNM.

The program is not covered by the Lottery scholarship and is not fully funded. Many of the students go into debt to take the classes.

UNM plans to require students who score a 19 or lower on the ACT to enroll in Early Start beginning in 2015.

Therefore, the “AVERAGE” New Mexico student will only be conditionally admitted to UNM if they get a slot in Early Start (which has limited slots available).

So…it seems that almost ALL “average” New Mexico students will be denied admission to UNM!

Dumb,Dumber & Dumbest

These 2 ideas are stupid and we need to speak up. How can the “average” students in New Mexico be held responsible for a failing educational system?

As UNM admitted, the ACT/SAT tests adversely impact minorities and low-income students. Yet they have gone back on their word and decided that they are important for some reason. Do they care about New Mexico students or are they more concerned about their US News College ranking?

They need to focus on what is important to our children…not their paycheck size. If you have any other stupid ideas that you know about concerning any of New Mexico’s Institutions of Higher Education, Tweet them to @DailyLoco or use #WhatTheFrank

 

 

#OurUNM holds symbolic Die-In to give students a voice

OurUNM Die In Group 5

The #OurUNM Student movement held a symbolic Die-In in front of Zimmerman Library on Wednesday, May 7th. The event was designed to allow students to express how the system has failed them. Students outlined each others silhouette with chalk and then placed a message inside to represent their symbolic death. The Die-In last for almost 2 hours and hundreds of students either witnessed or participated in it.

The messages covered a wide variety of concerns and many of the onlookers were inspired to ask questions. They did not know that so many systematic problems existed. No matter how many people actually chalked, the reality is that the event sparked conversations that may have never been brought up to some students.

OurUNM Die In IgnoredOurUNM Die In law student ratio

Some of the messages directly addressed racial inequality and bias on campus. One student wrote that they are the only black student in their class and they feel like they are ignored. It is difficult for a young person to have nobody else in a class that looks like them. Another student pointed out that there are only 4 African-American students in the UNM School of Law (out of 330). It makes me wonder how we can have a fair system of justice if the only law school in the entire state of New Mexico only has 4 African-American students.

OurUNM Die In HomelessOurUNM Die In FoodOurUNM Die In housing

One student pointed out that he was homeless while another was concerned the they did not have enough money to buy food. Last year there were over 400 homeless students at CNM and many more at UNM. These students do not have a permanent place to live while they attempt to better their lives. That is unacceptable. To make matters worse, full time students are not eligible for many public benefits. Students cannot get SNAP (food stamps) or commodities.

OurUNM Die in Police Brutality

Students discussed mounting debt and sky high tuition rates. Others were worried about the Bridge and Lottery Scholarship, poor academic advising due to a 800:1 student to advisor ratio, and police brutality. The list goes on and on. It is clear that the system is broken. Students do not know who to turn to for help. They are hungry for change and will force the system to react.

#OurUNM Greeted by the Police at their Candlelight Vigil

#OurUNM Banner

Police officers lined the streets and news cameras were ready to roll as #OurUNM approached President Frank’s house on Tuesday. The student movement had slowly made its way across campus, linking arms in a show of solidarity. As they crossed the street to set up a candlelight vigil in the President’s front yard, the police officers snapped to attention and prohibited the group from leaving the sidewalk. The officers did not care that the land was located on public property or that the student’s tuition paid for the luxurious home of the mighty President Frank. They were there to protect the Privileged and to persecute the People.

Police power

Police officers stand guard to keep these radicals off the lawn

The Movement was peaceful and the students did not have any intention of harming the President or the taxpayer property on which his tuition paid home was located. They were there to hold a candlelight vigil in remembrance of every student, faculty member, or community member that the system has tragically failed. They were there to tell personal stories that illustrated the point of the Movement. They gathered in front of President Frank’s house to make a statement and to encourage him to engage with the students.

Apparently President Frank had other ideas. His personal security force, also known as the UNM Police Department, formed a perimeter of safety around his fortress. He wasn’t going to stoop down to the level of these radical leftist students who do not represent his “real” student body. He had more important matters to attend to that evening. He had dinner guests to entertain and he couldn’t ignore that obligation. At the end of the evening, he made sure to ignore the mob on the sidewalk while he walked his distinguished guests to their car.

President Frank

President Frank and his guests (apparently more important than the students on his sidewalk)

The police officers must have been ordered to allow the Privileged onto the property. During the vigil, multiple students cut across the President’s front lawn without a peep from the police officers. They were not about to stop “real” students from exerting their privilege. They were there to keep the criminals and radicals on the sidewalk.

Channel 7 News seemed to have more important issues to cover and left. They weren’t going to waste time actually listening to what the students had to say. They wanted action and violence. That was newsworthy, while a peaceful and respectful gathering of students was just plain boring. Mainstream media does not have time to care about real issues; they need excitement to keep their advertisers happy.

On the other hand, Univision stayed for the entire vigil. The reporter was involved and really interested in the student’s stories. Univision really cared about the issues and the people involved.

Despite the obvious systematic discrimination taking place, the evening was a success. #OurUNM continued to show that they stand for peace, respect, inclusion, and equity. Students were drawn to the vigil and shared some very emotional stories with the group. Community members joined in and expressed solidarity with the Movement. Children played and made sure that all of the candles remained lit. Poets spoke beautiful and powerful words to inspire the group. It was an amazing moment in time and is a sign that something special is happening.

OurUNM Alter

President Frank may think very little of the Movement and mainstream media may not care, but a small group of students and community members are determined to change UNM. One of the students put it best by quoting Margaret Mead:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Enough said. Please join the Movement and change the world! https://www.facebook.com/ourunm

 

#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,

President

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.” http://krqe.com/2014/04/25/unm-president-cuts-student-input-for-some-fees/

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”. http://www.kob.com/article/stories/S3413316.shtml?cat=500#.U1vNLl5X9g0

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 https://www.facebook.com/ourunm

Also, please read this positive article about Student Movements across New Mexico: http://www.abqjournal.com/389924