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Graduate Students push for more transparency with administration

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Graduate students ask administration for more transparency with a resolution introduced at an ASNMSU meeting Nov. 1.

Graduate students ask administration for more transparency with a resolution introduced at an ASNMSU meeting Nov. 1.

Mitchell Allred

Mitchell Allred

Graduate students ask administration for more transparency with a resolution introduced at an ASNMSU meeting Nov. 1.

 The Associated Students of New Mexico State University introduced a resolution that aims to encourage transparency between NMSU administration and the Graduate College at their meeting Nov. 1 in the Corbett Center Student Union Senate Chambers. The meeting began at 6 p.m. 

The senate also passed bills and resolutions relating to communication between administration and the College of Graduates including a code of ethics and rules for the senate during meetings.  

President Pro-Tempore of the Senate, Ehtesham Shareef, said the resolution is in response to unclear and poor communication between Graduate students and administration.

The resolution would be sent to administration, as a request to stimulate more conversation on matters concerning graduate students. Shareef and other graduate senators said they are not being informed about decisions regarding the graduate school until much later, and it would be helpful to receive newsletters or emails about changes being made.  

The resolution was introduced after the senators for the graduate college said no formal communication was made to students when the dean of the Graduate School was replaced and merged with the Vice President of Research. The resolution states this move lacked transparency between administration and graduate students.    

Dustin Chavez, senator for the College of Arts and Sciences said he felt the resolution needed to be more affirmative. 

“There needs to be some direct call for it to have some standing,” Chavez said.  

Shareef said he did not include how the communication should be done because it should be up to the administration.  

“All we want is for them to at least try and communicate,” Shareef said.  

He said he and his fellow senators were working on a resolution with much stronger language but turned it down because the graduate council was not in favor of the language. 

“Personally, I have a feeling they don’t really care about the students and how the students are going to react to certain things,” Shareef said about the new administration.  

He said the administration has a business mindset, and the only thing he asks is that they are made aware of what is going on within the school. He said he hopes this resolution will send the message that students care and want to know what is going on.  

Other senators wanted a clear call for action because without it, they felt the administration could say they have communicated, but not as effectively as the graduate council would like. 

The attorney general of ASNMSU told the senate the resolution could be passed via the graduate council instead of the ASNMSU senate.  

Haley Stewart, senator for the College of Arts and Sciences was in favor of the resolution.  

“These resolutions don’t necessarily have enforcement power,” Stewart said. “It is, in essence, largely symbolic. It is a statement of the graduate students.” 

Stewart said that if this is the language that the senators for the graduate school and the council agreed upon, then it should be respected.  

The resolution was passed and will be sent to the NMSU Board of Regents, the president and chancellor of NMSU, deans of all the colleges, and all NMSU College Council Presidents, as well as student media and ASNMSU public relations.  

ASNMSU also introduced a resolution to enforce a code of ethics for the organization. Although there was a code of ethics previously introduced, some senators said they were not aware. In order to enforce the code, senators must read the rules and sign that they understand them when signing up for their office hours.  

Some students were wary of the code, believing that the enforcement would cause friction between senators. They were also concerned about the capacity of which they are officials and if the code of ethics was in effect outside of their senatorial duties.  

 According to the Code of Ethics, senators accused of breaching the Code of Ethics can be reported anonymously to a supervisor and will be handled accordingly.  

 Gaspard Mucundanyi of the Graduate School was the only senator to vote against the resolution. The Chief Elections Officer will put together packets that include the code of ethics and distribute them to the senators.  

 The next legislation to be voted on and approved was a resolution about the rules of the senate. The rules were introduced to make senate meetings more efficient. Although some rules had been introduced in previous meetings, they had not been voted on with a resolution. The senate currently follows Robert’s Rules of Order and the ASNSMU law book in regards to procedure and senators discussed whether the resolution would stray away from Robert’s Rules of Order.  

The resolution was passed, however. 

Additionally, a bill was also introduced to fund handicap accommodations for students at the ASNMSU office using the ASNMSU cardinal account. According to Shareef, the cardinal account is used for one-time expenses.  

The money would have been used for a door operator, push plates, receivers, relay boards, and installation charges. The total cost for those operations would have been $2,560. 

Shareef said handicap students should be able to access the ASNMSU facilities.  

Shareef said he spoke to Corbett Center, but was told to reach out to Student Accessibility Services and was told to speak once again to Corbett Center. 

“It’s been a loop,” Shareef said. “It’s better to take care of this ourselves. 

Senator for Engineering, David Elver disagreed. He said the responsibility to fund handicap accommodations should go elsewhere.  

“We should not be paying for this,” Elver said.  

The bill was tabled to reconsider resources to fund the changes. Shareef agreed to table the piece of legislation.  

Vice president, Linda Cisneros also encouraged senators to write more bills for students. She said the organization had a goal to spend $150,000 for appropriations, but so far $44,000 has been spent.  

“Make sure student fees are going to good use,” Cisneros told the senate.  

ASNMSU’s final meeting of the fall semester will be held Thursday, Nov. 15 at 6 p.m. at the Corbett Center Student Union. 

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About the Writer
Allysa Tellez, Staff Writer

Allysa Tellez is a junior at New Mexico State University. She is studying journalism and mass communications with a minor in government. She is originally from El Paso and commutes to Las Cruces to attend school daily. Allysa began writing at a very young age and won several writing competitions in her school district for her short stories. During high school, Allysa was involved with the Eastwood Sabre and the Student Television Network. She also did theatre for several years.

Fascinated with student media, she decided to pursue a college career in journalism. Tellez is also involved with News 22 and has completed internships with KFOX in El Paso and Latinitas, a non-profit organization to promote women in technology and media.

When Tellez is not in school, she enjoys attending concerts or going to the movies with friends. She has two dogs and loves to read and write.

In the future, Tellez hopes to pursue a career as a reporter for a local news station or paper.

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Graduate Students push for more transparency with administration