August 14, 2023

By Maddie Pukite, Daily Lobo

Passed unanimously, University of New Mexico President Garnett Stokes presented the Legislative Research and Public Service Projects Funding requests for FY 2024 – 2025 to the Board of Regents at their meeting on Thursday, Aug. 10.

The largest RPSP request for 2025 was $11,941,700 for athletics to improve student-athlete welfare, recruitment and “enhancing the university’s brand”; it was $3.5 million more than last year’s request.

The athletics request is one of two categorical requests, which are approved for a purpose, rather than a specific project. The other is a $1,097,900 request for educational television like New Mexico PBS.

Categorical requests are alongside 23 new requests and 29 expansion requests.  A new request of $997,946 would support the Accelerating Resilience Innovations in Drylands Institute for education and research on how to preserve the people’s economy and the ecosystem of New Mexico.

Environmental concerns were also brought up during the public comment. Several spoke about the Board of Regents filing to require “review and consideration” of the Health Equity and Environmental Impacts regulation.

The HEEI regulation would stop projects that cause air pollution in overburdened communities. The rule is currently awaiting a public hearing by the Air Board to vote on its adoption.

Feleecia Guillen, UNM Leaders for Environmental Action and Foresight Director of Communications, asked the board how filing in opposition to the HEEI regulation aligns with the sustainability goals advertised by the school.

“Why did the board choose this course of action, seemingly without aligning it with the values of equity and inclusion outlined in the UNM 2040 framework? This framework underlies the university’s – our commitment – to social justice, health equity and inclusivity, yet the actions of the board appear to be inconsistent with these principles,” Guillen said. …

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