ENMU Student Body Presidents Take Action Against Governor
After Governor Susana Martinez’s line-item veto of all funding for higher education in the State of New Mexico April 7, 2017, the presidents of all the four-year universities’ student senates collaborated to send Martinez an official statement on the behalf of their constituents. It reads:
"We, the presidents of the student government associations of the four-year higher education institutions in the State of New Mexico, are concerned about the Governor’s line-item veto of New Mexico Higher Education. We firmly believe that access to higher education is more important than ever in New Mexico. We need to be investing in bright and innovative minds to tackle our state’s challenges. We are disappointed in those elected to serve us, as they have allowed such a critical issue to be caught in the middle of partisan political crossfire. If the Governor truly cared about higher education in this state, she would not leave our higher education institutions and the thousands of students they serve in the dark about their anticipated budgets for the next year. We find it disappointing that politics are being put in front of the success of New Mexico students. We urge our Governor and legislators to come together during the special session to address higher education funding with students and the future of New Mexico at the forefront of the conversation. Protect our students from politics and ensure that we are given the resources we need to become the next generation of leaders in our state.”
According to Joshua Alvarez-Alvarez-Favela, Associated Students of ENMU’s Student Body President, The University of New Mexico’s student body president, Kyle Biederwolf, started the initiative by emailing the student leaders at ENMU, New Mexico state University, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, New Mexico Highlands University, and Western New Mexico University.
Biederwolf started it all by contacting the other presidents through email and sending them a draft of the statement. The student presidents read the statement over and before sending them back with annotations and concerns. “My only comment was to try and be more respectful,” Alvarez-Favela said, “because that’s something we value at Eastern.”
Alvarez-Favela hopes the Governor will take the statement seriously, but he has faith the budget issues will be resolved. “We need to stay active in this issue, no matter the outcome,” Alvarez-Favela said, “I believe students shouldn’t be in the dark."
ENMU’s student body president explained there was talk of going to Santa Fe if higher education funding was not provided, but it is likely the recently elected senators and president will inherit the opportunity. “We see it all over social media…I see students reactions all over campus, the legislature needs to come together and fix this,” Alvarez-Favela said.
Senior Shyla Archuletta hopes the statement “opens the Governor’s eyes to how beneficial higher education is to the state."
“I think by not funding higher education, she’s cutting a lot of opportunities from the New Mexico population,” Archuletta said, “A lot of young people stay in the state because of the lottery. Without it, a lot will leave."