The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

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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

Senate exceeds recommended expenditure, creates senator tension

David Castañeda
Pro Tempore Victoria Sandoval expresses her frustration and reminds senators not to refer to each other directly with the word “you.” March 28, 2024.

The 67th Senate of the Associated Students of New Mexico State University passed two bills at their last meeting on March 28 that went over the recommended senate expenditure. The discussion on the bills highlighted tension between senators supporting graduate and undergraduate students. 

Bill 215, presented by Sen. Rahaf Ben Ali, reimbursed three graduate students $4,500 for presenting their research at a conference. According to ASNMSU bylaws, graduate students should not receive more than $1,000 per bill. Some senators accused Ben Ali of hypocrisy because in the past, she was against other bills for exceeding the recommended expenditure. 

“She’s never been for it and that’s like, now that it’s your bill and people came up to you, now it’s fine,” Sen. Ala Alhalholy said. 

Ben Ali explained that she changed her mind on her previous stance based on new information about where the senate is financially. 

Senator Ala Alhalholy gives the senate a point of information regarding a bill on March 28, 2024. (David Castañeda)

“At first, I was very apprehensive about it,” Ben Ali said. “But then… Senator Hamilton went ahead and made the calculations for each meeting for the rest of the semester, and what we could allocate for students. And he said, he made the calculations, and it is as clear as possible. So I obviously changed my opinion, just as when you get more information, [you] obviously change your opinion.”

Bill 178, presented by Sen. Elida Miller, reimbursed an undergraduate student for $388. The student was doing research on the same level as PhD students. She had already received financial reimbursement as part of a club and wouldn’t have received enough money to pay for the conference if senate hadn’t passed the bill that exceeded the recommended expenditure of $800 per undergraduate student. 

“And I knew her $133 that she had left before she met her recommended expenditure was not enough to cover this research,” Miller said, “And I felt like, you know, we shouldn’t penalize students for being involved in multiple clubs and presenting research and we shouldn’t be penalizing undergrads because they’re active and saying, you know, ‘we can’t go over the recommended expenditure for them, even though it was almost the same situation as a grad student that was presenting research.” 

Miller was against bills going over the recommended expenditure at past meetings. She stated, similarly to Ben Ali, that she is more comfortable doing so now that the senate is in a good place financially and the end of the semester is coming up. 

Sen. Rahaf Ben Ali responds to questions regarding Bill 194. March 28, 2024. (David Castañeda)

“I think we have been very financially responsible up until this point. And now that we are at the end of the [semester], you know, we can kind of gauge a little better how many senate bills we have left at least,” she said. 

During discussions about both bills, senators made their opinions known about supporting both graduate students and undergraduate students. Pro Tempore Victoria Sandoval told senators they needed to represent their constituents first. 

Some senators agreed with this sentiment. Sen. Shashank Dharba expressed that he believed senators should focus their attention on the college they represent. 

“There are students to represent each and every college and it is the responsibility of that particular student or that particular senator to represent their own college. And granted, you have an opinion, if you want to do something good for the other college very well, but you should not forget your primary responsibility for your own college,” Dharba said. 

Other senators emphasized that senators should serve all students, whether those students are in their college or not. 

“I agree to an extent, but at the same time, we are the Associated Students of New Mexico State University. We should be able to and should argue and defend all student rights. It doesn’t matter if you’re [an] undergrad or graduate [student], we should defend you no matter what,” Alhalholy said. 

Sen. Gage Anderson looks over at fellow senators with a worried expression. March 28, 2024. (David Castañeda)

Throughout the meeting, Vice President Eduardo Gallegos and Sandoval repeatedly reminded senators to adhere to decorum.  

Miller attributed the breaking of decorum to the passion senators had for what they were saying. She expressed that she thought the senators should try to keep emotion out of the discussions. 

“One thing my mom says all the time is ‘Emotion interferes with progress,’ and I think we really need to be able to separate that emotion when we’re at the senate and that would really help with maintaining decorum,” she said. 

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About the Contributors
Elizabeth Anne Andrews
Elizabeth Anne Andrews, Staff Writer
Elizabeth Anne Andrews is starting her first semester with The Round Up as a Staff Writer. She is currently a freshman at NMSU, majoring in Journalism & Media Studies. She grew up in a military family so she’s lived all over the US and Germany. Ever since she was young, Elizabeth Anne has always been curious about everything around her. It comes from experiencing different cultures and being homeschooled, both opportunities which allowed her to grow in her independence and creativity. In her free time, Elizabeth Anne enjoys writing poems, listening to music, or hanging out with her three siblings and cat.
David Castañeda
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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