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The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

Controversial resolution creates conversation, addresses ‘nepotism’ concerns

“This is your student government, not our student government.”
Sen.+Alex+Duran+supports+his+claims+of+nepotism+within+ASNMSU+on+Feb.+8%2C+2024.
Perla Carrillo Arias
Sen. Alex Duran supports his claims of nepotism within ASNMSU on Feb. 8, 2024.

The 67th Senate of the Associated Students of New Mexico State University convened on Thursday, Feb. 8, to discuss a resolution that was considered to be controversial among ASNMSU Senators. Despite pushback, the resolution was brought up for conversation and questioning.  

With 22 out of the 28 senators present, the association began the meeting listening to remarks and requests from several senators who wished to be excused for a certain period of time due to classes or other personal matters.  

As The Round Up reported last week, the excusal process previously came under debate at the last Senate meeting. Some senators cited that all legislative members of the association should be present for the entire length of the meeting to fully understand what is happening.  

However, this time around, motions were made to pass several senators excusal requests. While these motions were met with several rounds of questioning, all excusal requests were subsequently passed. 

The first legislative item on the evenings agenda was the introduction of Resolution 98, which aimed to discuss and address the image of nepotism within ASNMSU. The resolution was introduced by Sen. Alex Duran. 

Duran stated during the meeting that he himself has been a victim of nepotism within the association and has been approached by other members of ASNMSU who have said they felt the same.  

“I may be the only one standing up here, but I am not the only one with this concern,” Duran said.  

Documents of Resolution 98 show that favoritism shown towards close friends and relatives in the hiring process is something that should not be swept under the rug. The resolution also states that those who are hired and/or elected should be hired based on merit, not because they are connected to someone in power.  

The resolution further mentions that “it does not intend to degrade any hired director or representative. Instead, it serves as a call to reflect on the image that has been set for the ASNMSU.”  

On Feb. 8, 2024, senators discuss the resolution on nepotism. (Perla Carrillo Arias)

During preliminary questioning, Duran asked fellow senators to raise their hand if they were involved in Greek life at New Mexico State. A sizeable number of Senators raised their hands.  

Senators in support of the resolution said that passing it would allow for more transparency and that it would send a message to the NMSU community that their student government embraces and hears their concerns.  

“Provost Soho has been talking a lot about culture and we need a better culture with the students and that starts with leadership,” Duran said. “If we are supposed to be the leadership students, we need to start with that motive of creating a better culture for the student body.” 

Duran mentioned he was aware and prepared for pushback from some of hiscolleagues, but he knew something had to be done. He said the resolution took about two weeks to be drawn up, brought into committee and up to the floor for conversation and debate.  

Vice President Eduardo Gallegos reminded senators to be respectful towards each other. However, during this request, the Corbett Center Student Union fire alarm was triggered, which put a halt to the process.  

25 minutes later, Corbett Center was cleared for everyone to return inside, which allowed the conversations, and questioning process on the resolution to resume.  

Chief of Staff Xavier Dominguez and ASNMSU President Citlalli Benitez were also called up in front of student legislators to hear senators concerns and answer their questions.

Benitez mentioned that she wished Duran would have spoken with the right people to find out what has been done about nepotism in the past.  

“When I first heard about it, well, it’s very disheartening,” she said. “It was kind of a bombshell, that this was kind of a topic that they wanted to discuss but hadn’t chosen to discuss it with the proper parties.”  

Benitez said she was confident in the hiring process of ASNMSU and the hiring practices within her executive branch. While she acknowledged the larger presence of Greek life within the association, she said her administration cut down Greek life representation in the executive branch by 50% during her time in office.  

Benitez stated that nepotism had happened within the association before. However, she believed that it does not exist in the current form of ASNMSU.  

Senate deliberates a resolution presented by Sen. Alex Duran on Feb. 8, 2024.

Benitez and Gallegos are both members of Greek organizations on campus. She mentioned one of the possible reasons that so many ASNMSU staffers and senators are members of Greek life is because word of open positions within the organization spreads naturally within Greek chapters. But she mentioned those who apply are qualified for the positions.  

As for the resolution itself, it was tabled. Both Benitez and Duran agree that keeping an open line of communication within the association and to NMSU students is key. 

“I don’t ever want to diminish the power of the legislative branch, or to discourage them from calling things out in which that they see are unfit,” Benitez said.  

Duran wants NMSU students to know that ASNMSU is here to hear everyone’s concerns.  

“This is your student government, not our student government,” Duran said.  

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About the Contributors
Noah Apodaca, Staff Writer

Noah Apodaca is a junior at New Mexico State University, where he is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Media Studies with an emphasis in broadcast, as well as a minor in government. This is Noah's first year with The Round Up. 

Born and raised in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Noah got his start in the media industry in 2022, when he joined KRWG-TV's News22 program as a writer, reporter and anchor. With News22, he has covered a wide range of topics, including traveling to the 2023 Conference USA Championship game in Lynchburg, Virginia. 

In addition to News22, Noah has worked with NMSU's journalism department’s online news publication, Kokopelli, KFOX14 in El Paso, Texas, and U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich.

In his spare time, you can catch Noah at the gym, at the airport fulfilling his love of travel, or at home streaming some Disney+ alongside his five dogs. He is ecstatic to join The Round Up team this year!

Perla Carrillo Arias, Photojournalism Intern
Perla Carrillo Arias is entering her first semester at The Round Up as a photojournalism intern. She is a senior at NMSU, majoring in Business Marketing with a focus on Advertising and a minor Social Media Management. Perla was born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico. A passionate traveler and avid reader, Perla finds inspiration in exploring new places and immersing herself in diverse experiences. Perla’s love for photography and videography sprouted when she was a just little girl. She reminisces going through hundreds of photographs her mom has captured and having the realization of how important it is to have memories. When she’s not behind the lens, Perla can be found indulging in her love for literature, spending time with her family, or tuning into thought-provoking podcasts that ignite her curiosity. Perla is looking forward to acquiring knowledge from the team and further developing her photographic skills at The Round Up.

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