ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Groups of University of New Mexico students have been demanding that the university change its official seal for years, they said it’s racist and not inclusive. A big step to change it was taken Thursday.
The seal currently depicts a conquistador and frontiersmen, and those in favor of changing it said it represents violence against Native Americans.
At Thursday’s regents’ committee meeting, they approved to move this measure to the full board at its Nov. 15 meeting. The Kiva Club, and a Native American group called “Red Nation” has campaigned to get the university seal changed for years and said this is a huge long overdue victory.
“This was a long time coming. Again, I think it’s a shame it took this long for this to happen, but it’s happening and I think we all feel really optimistic about the seal being changed,” said Jennifer Marley, Red Nation and Kiva Club.
The regents’ committee was given all the responses from students, faculty and staff showing they are overwhelmingly in favor of changing the seal.
“The current seal suggests nothing about UNM being an institution of learning, it suggests preoccupation with a violent, local past,” said Josephine De Leon, VP Equity and Inclusion.
A cost analysis will be done on how much it will cost the university to phase out the current seal, the current seal is on everything from diplomas to lecterns.
Students KRQE News 13 spoke with said they don’t have a clear vision of whether the seal should include more figures or none at all, they just want the current seal gone.
Other demands on their list include reconstruction of a native cultural center and more Native American faculty at the administrative level.