By: Stefany Olivas, Managing Editor
CNM President Kathie Winograd said that she will explore possible solutions to the student concerns raised at a recent open forum.
The forum was designed as an update to students on the progress of CNM, Several students attended the forum to ask questions and express concerns directly to Winograd.
“I really appreciate that they held this forum. I thought I was really good for students to be able to go and really put down their ideas,” said Criminal Justice major and ECOS President Stephen Martos.
He said that student government was there to represent the general needs of the students.
Business major Brian Taylor said he was concerned about the appeal process.
He said he applied to UNM and Highlands for the fall term, but he did not find out his appeal to continue at CNM was denied until the week that the two schools started and ruined his chance of attending for fall.
“By the time I got an appointment I couldn’t register over there,” said Taylor.
Winograd said she did not have the answer to his concern, but she is going to look at how they can do things better and she understands there are a lot of things that have to happen.
ECOS member Carrie Ratkevitch said she is concerned with the lack of space available for student clubs and organizations. The portables that currently house some organizations near the Student Resource Center on Main campus have been deemed a fire hazard by the fire marshal, she said.
ECOS member Cesar Silva mentioned the buildings that were recently demolished on Buena Vista and Coal could have been used.
Winograd said they demolished the buildings because they were a hazard and just because they were vacant, does not make them a suitable building to be used.
“A lot of us don’t have any space to really hold meetings or just have a space of our own. The portables are falling apart and they are a fire hazard,” said Ratkevitch.
Ratkevitch said she does not want to see student organizations in a situation like the Art and Criminal Justice departments where the programs were suddenly without space.
“I know space is limited on this campus, and I know it may be a while before we get something, but it’d be nice to be included in the plans,” said Ratkevitch.
Ratkevich also said that some students were having trouble with financial aid limits.
Some students have lost their federal financial aid when they have around 12–14 credit hours to complete. She asked Winograd what is being done to help those students.
“They get close to finishing their program and they’re told they don’t have enough credit space to do so. So they have one term left, and they’re being told they can’t finish,” said Ratkevitch.
Winograd said that CNM is aware of these issues and that the federal laws have been making restrictions over the past years. She said the administration is really trying to focus on how CNM can efficiently utilize scholarship money, and that students having issues with that should visit the financial aid office.
“What we have learned is that that money on the front end isn’t as important as the money on the back end,” said Winograd.
Business major Therese Sossman said she is concerned by CNM having a privately owned bookstore for students, and worried that financial aid dependent students are being taken advantage of by the company.
“Since they are privately owned, they charge these exorbitant prices for books that you can get elsewhere if you’re not dependent upon financial aid,” she said, “but when you are you have no choice you to go to the bookstore and pay double the price.”
Winograd said she understands the price of books is one of the most critical problems facing students, but most other institutions also outsource for their bookstores.
She said the high prices are partly because new technology has caused the entire book industry to struggle. She said she encourages students to buy cheaper books online if they can and, although she does not have a solution for the high prices at the bookstore; it is something they would like to fix.
“We do have a contract with Follet. We know that the books there are priced by Follet. We also know that they have a little bit of a percentage up to some places like online,” said Winograd.
Chemical Engineering major Timothy Torres said if Blackboard was more efficient it would make outside classwork and collaboration much easier.
If Blackboard was able to bring people together through video conferencing or some type of forum where everybody in the class can be involved directly.
Blackboard does provide students with the option to chat, but he said when chat does not allow students to compare their work right away
“Then you can come back to the class the next week and say, ‘hey teacher, we tried this it didn’t work,’ and then she’ll throw some schooling on you,” he said.
If students have other issues they can contact Stephen Martos, president of the Executive Council of Students at firstname.lastname@example.org