The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

Graduate Town Hall tunes in to graduate student concerns

David Castañeda
The Graduate Student Council, along with the Vice President of Student Success and Enrollment Management, gathered in Gerald Thomas to answer student and staff questions. Oct. 6, 2023.

New Mexico State University’s Graduate School Council presented the third annual fall Graduate Student Town Hall. Hosted by the council itself, the event took place at Gerald Thomas Hall building on Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023.  

The Graduate School Council advocates for graduate students at NMSU on a case-by-case basis to assist with funding and teaching for students academic endeavors.  

The town hall sessions were created to offer a space where graduate students are able to voice their concerns to not only other students and organizations, but to NMSU administrators as well.  

The sessions present the chance to amplify graduate students’ issues, suggestions and kudos but are not guaranteed immediate answers due to funding and pending proposals. 

Provost and chief academic officer Dr. Alan Shoho attended the session and offered the students some words of encouragement to make the most out of their graduate studies.  

“Graduate students are really important to us, and we want to offer the level of support we think that you deserve” said Dr. Shoho. “37 years ago, I was in your place,” he added.  

Dr. Shoho also urged students to be patient and assured them that the council and school are committed to their well-being.  

During the session, three commitments were predominant for this year. Faculty salaries, graduate assistantships and global opportunities are on top of the list. 

Graduate students shared their concerns about the campus to the council. Oct. 6, 2023. (David Castañeda)

The repeated concern for attendees was undoubtedly the graduate assistantships. Graduate students made it very clear that they, too, are employees and that is an issue of great concern among them.  

Hannah Melick is part of the Graduate Workers United (GWU) or the Graduate Workers Union. During the session, she valiantly expressed her concern with the graduate student employment problematic.  

“Graduate employees often drop out, make tough decisions between affording rent, food, and other bills, and are economically pressured to put their personal lives on hold in order to complete their degrees,” Melick said. 

Graduate assistantships are allegedly offered to students that have more than nine credit hours but can’t be guaranteed due to a budget issue, as there is not enough awareness about the costs.   During the town hall session, the increase in salary and opportunities for assistants and faculty was said to be at the top of the list of priorities, although this was a commitment from last year that has yet to succeed. 

Regent Devasthali made clear that this is an issue of preeminence but that it is guided by “baby steps” and that there are still improvements to be made.  

Some of the other concerns discussed during the meeting were employee parking, graduate student-only housing, high costs of international insurance retention of students and mental health among other concerns. All of which are looking to be improved in the near future for the graduate students of NMSU.  

 For more information the Graduate School Council, visit their webpage here

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About the Contributors
Andrea Vasquez, Staff Writer
Andrea Vasquez is a second semester transfer senior at New Mexico State University, majoring in Journalism and Media Studies. Although she was born in Mexico, her life has been shaped by the border experience and having the chance to be part of a tri-city adventure (Juarez, El Paso, Las Cruces). She previously attended El Paso Community College and Wiley College in Marshall, Texas. In 2022, she interned at KTSM Channel 9 News in El Paso, Texas and completed a photography internship at The Santa Fe New Mexican during the summer of 2023. She also participates in NMSU’s student broadcast News 22 as a Spanish anchor and producer for Noticias 22. She intends to pursue a career in the journalism field as both a reporter and a photographer. She is entering her first semester at The Round Up as a staff writer and photographer. For her, having the opportunity to learn and contribute to the NMSU community is a great privilege that she does not take for granted. Journalism offers a chance to observe events closely and more professionally, but disconnecting is also important for her. She likes to enjoy outdoor activities as well as spending time with family and friends and catching up with series and documentaries.
David Castañeda, Multimedia Director
David Castañeda is starting his second year here at The Round Up, this being his first year as Multimedia Director. This is his second year at New Mexico State University and is majoring in Journalism & Media Studies. He was born and raised in El Paso, Texas as an only child but is extremely happy to be able to call Las Cruces his new home. David has had an affinity for photography since he was in elementary school and has only fallen deeper in love with the art through this job. Though David enjoys nothing more than to be behind a camera he loves to try to explore new hobbies and career options. He’s currently focused on improving his photography at The Round Up and working with the Multimedia Specialists to make the Multimedia team the best it can be. When he isn’t taking photos or editing them on Photoshop, David loves to spend his time with his 3-year-long girlfriend in their apartment where they frequently cuddle up in bed to watch some trash TV and films. On his own, he loves to play the bass and listen to music. His favorite artists are The Strokes and Gorillaz.    

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