ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A group of UNM students say it’s their money but they won’t have a say in how it’s spent. They say the president isn’t giving them a chance to give input on where some student fees should go but the UNM President says, that’s just not so.
The Student Fee Review Board is an opportunity for students to weigh in on where their student fees are going. They don’t have a say on everything, but until recently, they were able to make recommendations on fees like libraries and athletics.
“We are very surprised by this decision,” says GPSA President Pricila Poliana.
Student body leaders said they were caught off guard when they say UNM President Bob Frank decided to give them less say in where some of their money goes.
They say they thought they had reached an agreement with the president.
“We had a conversation with President Frank and we had a agreement,” said Associated Students of the University of New Mexico President Isaac Romero.
The Student Fee Review Board provides some insight to the Board of Regents on where they want their money spent for things like career services to public events. However, the controversy is over athletics and libraries, which accounts for about 18 percent of all student fees.
Some say they shouldn’t pay as much to support sports that are losing money.
President Bob Frank says he was concerned they didn’t have enough time to listen to everyone from the community when talking budgets so, he scaled back the input from the Student Fee Review Board.
“Budget process is going too late in the year and we don’t have time for the kinds of conversations we need with regents and, most importantly, we don’t have enough time for the budget conversations outside of the university which is the most important constituency, the community, the legislature,” explains Frank.
President Frank said there will be other opportunities for students to weigh in.
“The most inclusive process of student voice at our university and the president is basically saying he wants to get rid of, at least part of that,” said UNM graduate student Christopher Ramirez.
Yet, the president says that’s not the case. He said he’s even put together a new student cabinet he’ll meet with twice a semester.
“I’m going to get more input from more students so, I think the concern that they’re not going to get input is wrong. I’m going to get more input from more students about this,” Frank said.
President Bob Frank said even though he won’t be going through the Student Fee Review Board for athletic and library fees, he will be meeting with students earlier in the year to ask for ideas.
The graduate student body president said she hopes President Frank attends their council meeting Saturday to discuss the issue.