Security’s use of force questioned by students

By Daniel Montaño, Senior Reporter

Link to Video of the incident:
Security’s detention tactics have been called into question by students who witnessed three security officers apprehend and detain a skateboarder for riding in a dismount zone, said Immanuel Colbert, liberal arts major who witnessed the incident.
The skateboarder, who asked to remain nameless until the matter is settled with CNM administration and security, had his skateboard taken and thrown to the ground by officers before they wrestled the skateboarder himself to the ground and began choking him, Colbert said.
Colbert watched and recorded the incident, which took place on Sept. 11 just before 9 a.m. in the parking lot south of Ken Chappy Hall, and believes security officials used excessive force for such a minor violation, he said.
“It just wasn’t appropriate. It wasn’t necessary to do it, but the guard brought the contact and the violence into it. There wouldn’t have been any if he would have just explained to (the skateboarder) why he was coming at him like that. But he didn’t. It was overly aggressive. I’d say completely unnecessary,” Colbert said.
Colbert’s video can be viewed at the CNM Chronicle’s website:
Colbert is ex-military, so he has been trained in intervention techniques and knows how security and police officers are supposed to deal with a possibly volatile situation, he said.
After stopping the skateboarder, security officers spoke to him and had the chance to resolve the situation without physical force, but the officers escalated the situation to a physical level by pushing the skateboarder in the chest repeatedly before attempting to detain him, Colbert said.
“They’re supposed to assess the situation and calm it down, and this CNM security guard did none of that. He accelerated the situation to physical contact. He didn’t try to use his words to bring it down,” Colbert said.
The security officers were on scene responding to a medical emergency — a faculty member, who also asked not to be named because of the ongoing investigation, had fell and hit her head — when the skateboarder rode by, William Duran, Chief of Security, said.
Duran would not comment on the incident’s details, or whether or not the guards’ actions fell within policy guidelines, because the investigation is ongoing, but did say that initial reports from staff indicate that the officers’ actions were appropriate, he said.
“I’ve had staff, I’ve had faculty members, I’ve had health staff tell us ‘Hey, your officers did what they had to do. She needed to be protected, and that’s what they were doing,’” Duran said.
The faculty member in question was sitting on the east side of KC receiving care from officers for the injury to her head when the skateboarder rode “about as fast as you can go on a skateboard” towards the scene of her accident, she said.
Officers yelled at the skateboarder to dismount, but he continued skating, she said.
“He just kept coming and the security guard treating me said ‘get off that board!’ and the kid yells ‘I’m late!’ and just kept going faster and faster,” she said.
The skateboarder did not hit any of the guards or the faculty member as he went by, she said.
Officers ran after the skateboarder, following him to the south side of KC, which is where he finally dismounted and started speaking to officers, Colbert said.
After repeatedly asking for his skateboard, the security officer took it from the skateboarder’s hands and threw it to the ground, then started pushing the skateboarder’s chest and threw him to the ground, Colbert said.
“Right after they grab him and the initial physical contact happens, and they start tussling around, he slams (the skateboarder) down and starts choking him,” Colbert said.
Colbert recorded the incident and sent it to the skateboarder as evidence in case the skateboarder wished to pursue legal action, Colbert said.
The skateboarder declined to comment on the situation or whether he will be pursuing legal action, because he has been advised “not to talk about anything that has happened,” he said on Monday, Sept. 16.
The faculty member has some bumps and scrapes as well as the cut on her head from the fall, but is fine now after receiving attention from officers and a trip to the hospital, she said.
“Security was the bomb in treating me and kind of securing the scene and all of that. So I really gave them props for being responsive in helping me,” she said.

Free childcare program goes unnoticed

By Daniel Montaño, Senior Reporter
There is no question: being a parent and going to school is difficult, Christine De Lette, Center Specialist at Youth Development Inc., said.
The good news is CNM has – and has had for 14 years – a program that assists student-parents by providing childcare, but the bad news is students are not signing up, De Lette said.
“Currently it’s a really low number,” she said. “I believe we have about three or four right now.”
YDI is a non-profit company that provides free childcare, education and much more to low income families, and YDI has a location on the South Valley campus, De Lette said.
CNM and YDI have struck a deal so that YDI gets to lease CNM’s land and students get first dibs on the 40 spots that are open every year for children aged three to five, as long as the students applying meet the guidelines for enrollment, she said.
This sort of deal should have people clamoring to get in, but the student response to enroll children has been less than overwhelming, and De Lette thinks it is because students do not know the program exists, she said.
“They’re not aware of it. It’s not on the map, it’s not in a brochure, it’s not in the catalog for the new school year, it’s not sent out on flyers, we’re not posted on CNM’s website as an option,” she said.
De Lette is looking to change that in the upcoming semesters by getting word about the program out to students, she said.
Because YDI is independent of CNM, De Lette has not had any direct control over the lack of advertising, but she has been reaching out to various departments within CNM, and has been trying to place ads to bring in more students, she said.
“We understand that students do have the need for childcare, and our goal is to make sure that students know that we’re here for them,” she said.
Even though the school year is already under way, YDI is still accepting applications and their waitlists tend to move quickly, De Lette said.
Because families move or have a change in status, there is usually a good chance children can get in regardless of the time of the year, and De Lette is still encouraging students to apply, she said.
The south valley YDI location can be reached at 873-0905 for specific information.
“We rarely, rarely turn people away,” De Lette said.
YDI serves over seventeen thousand children and their families and has over 20 locations in Albuquerque, and even more in Taos and Rio Arriba counties, all of which offer a head-start program, De Lette said.
The south valley location is the only YDI facility that holds onto spots specifically for CNM students, but there is a transfer program available so kids can move to a location that is closer to home once they are fully enrolled in the program, she said.
“The way head-start works, and this is kind of a bonus, once you’re in, you’re in for good,” she said.
The south valley YDI location is a head-start program, which means they specialize in helping underprivileged children get an education before entering elementary school, De Lette said.
The kids follow a regular school schedule, have a curriculum planned out for them and get the benefits of a traditional daycare, such as meal programs, and even wipes and diapers, at no cost to the parents, she said.
“Everything in our program is free. It’s completely covered,” De Lette said.
In order to be eligible, Students must be below 100 percent of the federal poverty line; however, YDI will accept applicants up to 130 percent, but those parents are put on a waiting list, De Lette said.
Once in the program, children receive early education focused on preparing them for school, which includes fostering social skills through a special teaching approach called “nurturing hearts,” she said.
“So the relationships, the friendships, the closeness, how to share, how to follow rules, how to build and develop relationships with people, all of it is developed so we focus on the whole child,” she said.
De Lette’s YDI location is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and she encourages students to call if they need help with childcare, she said.
“…Please, please come. Call me. Let me know and we will go over everything you need to bring. Our waitlist is very low right now,” she said.

Everybody, just cool your jets

Editorial, By The Chronicle Editorial Board

After finding out about the incident that occurred on the morning of Wednesday Sept, 11 when a student rode by security on a skateboard and was tackled and detained until APD arrived on the scene, one has to wonder what constitutes excessive force when it comes to the men and women that secure our campuses.
Students should not be riding their skateboards where there is high foot traffic on campus, and some students can be seen maneuvering and skating their way through crowds of people up to the doors of buildings such as the Student Services Center, which can be a hazard or could potentially hurt someone that is just trying to get to a class on the walkways.
Campus security used force last week on a student that heard security telling him to get off of his board, but kept skating anyway. This resulted in officers throwing the student’s board across the parking lot, tackling the student, pinning him to the ground, and witnesses say choking him before cuffing him.
Security does so much for the school, from helping students with medical needs and issues, to stopping the assaults and thefts on campus, but to the Chronicle, this particular incident seemed to include excessive force that could have been avoided. Security should have made themselves clear in their intent to detain this particular student, instead of throwing him to the ground for not listening to them and allegedly choking him before cuffing him, because he had no idea why they had grabbed him in the first place.
Students on skateboards need to be aware of where and when they are skating, and if there is a congested group of people ahead on a walkway, they should stop and get off the board, because it really is not worth being even later to class for being detained by security.

New Vice President has big plans for PTK

Nick Stern, Staff Reporter | Photo by Nick Stern,

Anthropology major and vice president of Services Learning Program, Tiffany Ruelas, is now the current Vice President of the Phi Theta Kappa chapter at CNM, and she and fellow members have plans that will help further PTK’s goals and encourage students to do well in school, she said.
This month PTK is planning something called the C4 Commitment to Complete which is basically getting students to sign a massive banner committing themselves to complete an Associate’s degree at a community college, she said.
“It is for students who do well in school. For them to be acknowledged that they actually did well in school and there are scholarship opportunities and other events for students that are in PTK. It opens doors for students,” she said.
PTK has a lot of different things going on like planning for an ice cream social for the spring term which will help the group try to raise money to make scholarships for its members, she said. Members are also working with the CNM bookstore to try and get textbook scholarships for its members, she said.
PTK also works on a whole bunch of different things including different fundraisers and even events to just have some fun, she said.
“We went to the museum over the summer just to be together. So we do a bunch of different stuff,” she said.
PTK also plans on doing volunteer work for the Roadrunner food bank, which already has 30 volunteers, not including actual members, and are hoping to get a lot more, Ruelas said.
Ruelas recognizes that PTK does not have a really big presence on campus and not as many people know about it as there should be, she said.
One of the group’s larger goals right now is to create a bigger and better attendance and to convince more students to finish at a community college with an associate’s degree, she said.
“We are trying to get a bigger presence in school and we are planning some things to do that. We are planning school events and are thinking about doing rounds to different classes if teachers allow us to just talk for five minutes about PTK and answer questions,” she said.
PTK is a honor society organization for outstanding students of two-year colleges and has a two part mission according to its web page, which is to acknowledge and encourage academic accomplishments among students and to provide chances for experience and growth among individual students through participation in different types of helpful programs.
Students have to have a grade point average of at least a 3.5 to get in to PTK and maintain at least a 2.5 GPA to maintain their membership, Ruelas said.
When she first got the email asking her to join, Ruelas did research on PTK and decided it was interesting and joined the society, she said.
Ruelas said she came to a couple meetings and offered to help with the ice cream social and other activities and was soon emailed by the president asking if she wanted to be an officer and she agreed.
It cost 75 dollars to join and membership lasts a lifetime, Ruelas said
“You’re always going to be a Phi Theta Kappa no matter where you are, it is great because you can finish a degree at a community college, wait however many years, and still go back to school and apply for PTK scholarships and can possibly get them,” Ruelas said.
Ruelas is from San Antonio, Texas where she moved to New Mexico from three days after her high school graduation in 2012, she said.
She will be the first one in her family to get a degree and her parents have very high expectations for her, she said.
She meets them by making the dean’s list for all three semesters she has attended, and she got to be in the honors program, she said.
One piece of advice she has for students is to get an education in something they like or are interested in, because it is much harder to finish doing something that does not interest and will make it that much harder to succeed.

Piano Man

Stacie Armijo, Staff Reporter | Photo by Stacie Armijo

At the Westside campus there is a new Piano class being taught by Dr. Vincent S. Schenck that gives students the opportunity to learn piano on the 20 Yamaha pianos provided in the classroom, said Schenck.
The thing that makes this class so unique is that students can work together or work separately and the students learn how to play melodies and harmonies as well as proper techniques, he said.
“To have the piano class, I think it’s important because the piano is a basic instrument that is very visual,” he said.
In addition to learning how to read music students will have the benefit of knowing how to play basic songs, Schenck said.
“My favorite thing about teaching piano is that it is an important skill for people to learn when it comes to music,” he said.
For the final in this innovative course students play a song of their choosing in front of the class, he said.
By the end of the semester students will learn how to play music themselves and be able to read music, he said.
“There are a lot of things learned; hand and eye coordination and memorization. It’s just the discipline of sitting up straight, actually playing the instrument and dedicating the time to it,” he said.
Schenck said he believes his students appreciate the fact that he offers an open studio before classes where students can come in earlier and catch up or have their questions answered before the class starts.
“I am not under any obligation to have studio hours but I think it’s a good time for them to come in and ask questions and work on things, who doesn’t want to come in early to play the piano more if you are interested in it,” he said.
One of the things that Scheck stresses in class is to not get easily frustrated and to have patience while learning this instrument or any other, because it can be somewhat discouraging at first to learn and keep practicing, he said.
“Once someone learns to play the piano it is easier for them to pick up another instrument,” he said.
Schenck said that he not only teaches piano, but he also teaches Music Theory, Fundamentals of Music and an online Music Appreciation course as well.
For more information on the new piano class students can email Dr. Schenck at

Self made stand-up Albuquerque comics take back the scene

By Jonathan Baca, Staff Reporter | Photo by Jonathan Baca

The world of stand-up comedy is changing, and a handful of dedicated comics in Albuquerque are taking back the scene and doing things their own way, said professional comedian and Burque native Mike Long.
One local comedian who has broken out in the scene is Digital Media major Curt Fletcher. Fletcher has become a big name in local comedy, and has had success performing at clubs and comedy festivals throughout the country, he said.
“I like the scene here. Everyone is super supportive,” Fletcher said.
Since he started doing stand-up twelve years ago, Fletcher has performed all over the country, to audiences in 24 states, he said.
He has moved up through the ranks of the comedy world, battling critical club owners and drunken hecklers along the way, he said.
“I think it takes a certain kind of person. You definitely need to have thick skin,” and Fletcher said “You have a lot of bad shows before you get good.”
He first started performing there, despite his extreme nervousness and shy personality, and feels that he has come a long way since then, he said.
A new style of do-it-yoYurself stand-up is changing the local comedy scene, replacing the old model of the comedy club with a looser, more democratic system that puts the power back into the hands of the comics themselves, giving comedians and their fans the power to do things their own way, Long said.
“There’s a real resurgence of comedy as an art form, but it’s more accessible. All the gatekeepers have been removed, so it’s more do-it-yourself. Everyone has access to the same kind of network and scene,” Long said.
Just like many other comedians in Albuquerque, Fletcher got his start at Laff’s Comedy Club, where he previously worked.
“I’ve known Curt Fletcher for eight years and he’s one of the hottest comics coming out of New Mexico now,” said local actor Steven Michael Quezada, best known from his role as Agent Gomez on Breaking Bad.
Quezada also got his start as a stand-up comic in Albuquerque, and has since been the host of a local late night talk show, where he helped put the spotlight on many local comedians.
Former student and fellow comedian Terrance Brown said, “There’s a lot of funny guys here, but Curt is on another level.”
Local comedian Sarah Kennedy, along with ten others, will be hosting Comedy Awareness Week from October 12 to 19, with multiple shows every night, performances at UNM, and many other events, all with the goal of putting the spotlight on Albuquerque’s comedy scene and letting people know about the caliber of talent the city has, according to their Facebook page.
Kennedy runs the website, which has become a much needed source of information for local comedy fans, with a calendar of performances, profiles of local performers, and other useful information.
“Since I started doing comedy, I think we’ve become so much more connected and so much more collaborative, and I think we’ve grown a lot,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy hosts several stand-up open-mic nights at Blackbird Buvette downtown and at Broken Bottle Brewery on the west side, as well as a showcase at The Box on the first and third Saturdays of the month. With so many options, new talent has a chance to shine, Kennedy said.
“I would put any comedian from here up against what happens elsewhere in the country, and they would shake out to be equal if not better,” Kennedy said.
Comedy in Albuquerque has evolved from the days since Laff’s Comedy Club closed its doors years ago. Back then, if a local comic wanted to perform, Laff’s was the only stage in town.
“Now, with the internet and the local hubs of connectivity that we’re seeing, it’s a whole new world. We’re seeing people having amazing success without having to go through those traditional channels,” Long said.
Big name touring comedians also have plenty of venues at their disposal, Long said.
The Kimo Theater, the Kiva Auditorium, the Guild, and the Launchpad are all hosting touring comics, as well as the casinos, especially Santa Ana Star casino’s new comedy spot The Stage, and all of these are helping to make New Mexico a lucrative destination for national talent, Long said.
“The fact that there is a good paycheck to be made for a national headliner in New Mexico is a really big boom,” Long said.
National acts like Doug Stanhope, Seth Meyers, Steve Hofstetter, David Tobey, and many others have made New Mexico a stop on their tours is a testament to the growing importance of the Land of Enchantment as a comedy destination, Long said.
This helps the local scene because many of the opening acts for these shows are local up-and-comers, said Kennedy. Kennedy, Long, and fellow local Matt Peterson recently opened for Doug Stanhope at the Launchpad, which was a great opportunity for them to get stage time with a high-profile headlining act, Kennedy said.
Many exciting things are happening in the local comedy scene, and the challenge now is getting the word out, Long said.
“There’s half a million people in Albuquerque who don’t know that comedy shows are happening in this town,” Long said.
Thanks to people like Long, Kennedy, and dozens of others, the scene is alive and well, and should only continue to get bigger.
“There is always room to grow, and I hope Albuquerque stays on top of things, and remains ahead of the curve instead of just following,” Kennedy said.

Student announces grand opening of new clothing store

By Martin Montoya, Staff Reporter | Graphic by Rene Thompson, Designs and photos by Tommy Borunda

Tommy Borunda, Digital Media and Film major, has made his own business and multiple clothing lines while attending CNM, and wants to let people know about his new store scheduled to open in two weeks, he said.
The store, called V$ (Versus), will be located at 220 Sixth Street Downtown and will feature locally made brands by Borunda and other artists, he said.
Borunda’s designs are a twist on a concept based on the ‘90s television show ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,’ appropriately named The FrshPrnts.
“I just flip things, old icons and other stuff,” Borunda said.
While Borunda sells his gear and develops new designs, he is also collaborating with a friend on the V$ brand who will be running the store with him and will also be selling his personal brand called The Two MM’s, he said.
For the “B-boys,” there is a design in the FrshPrnts line called the Breakman that looks like the Jordan dunk design flipped upside down, only he is posted up in a stall, he said.
Getting good responses from his designs and selling them all over and at any time, Borunda said he is excited for the opening of V$.
“I have been doing pretty good just selling my designs out of my trunk,” Borunda said.
A few other designs that Borunda has made that are organic to Albuquerque and have been sources of inspiration are designs such as Dead Dooks, Lota Hands, and Num Lokos, he said.
When V$ opens up, Borunda said they will be hosting art shows, B-boy (Break Dancers) events, and live performances.
Hosting these events is a way to get the community together as well as a way to bring the underground culture together, Borunda said.
“Everybody tends to jock the mainstream so we are trying to get people to jock the local’s,” Borunda said.
YWhile taking advantage of a program through CNM and U-Public, Borunda said he built many relationships and got a kick-start in filming and editing as well.
Along with editing and filming his own videos, Borunda said he can also make money editing projects for other people because there are many people who need film out here.
“This town is Tamalewood, there are a lot of people who need stuff done and not enough to do it,” Borunda said.
Borunda said he also does street art throughout the city and that is how people know what design will be coming out next in his clothing line, so keep a look out for upcoming designs, his store grand opening, and until then students can get FrshPrnts at or can follow Borunda on instagram @ THEFRSHPRNTS.

Where are they now? Former student still helps CNM

Nick Stern, Staff Reporter | Photo by Angel Mercier


Career Education Coordinator at the Creative Education Preparatory Institute (CEPI) and previous CNM student, Angela Cordova has had many challenges stand in the way of her getting where she wanted but she has managed to persevere regardless of her struggles, and gets to offer help and support to high school students preparing for college, she said.
A big part of Cordova’s work entails connecting as many high school students as possible to CNM and walking them through the steps for  registration, financial aid, academic advisement, and everything the high school student needs to know to get started and manage their future educations, she said.
Cordova said she makes it a point to let students know about the support CNM has to offer and really focuses on teaching students that it’s not all about having a high intelligence in every subject, but that it is about the effort and drive to do well, that will help carry students all the way through college.
“I had a student the other day saying ‘I’m not that smart’ and it is not about being smart. The smartest person could fail because they are not trying. It is not about your IQ. It is about being willing to try. You have to want to do it,” she said.
Cordova moved from California to New Mexico where she intended on finishing up high school which was going according to plan until her senior year, when the high school she attended discovered entirely too late, that her transcripts we’re lacking the credits she had earned, she said.
“I went to the student counselors in high school and asked what I had to do the first time I came to class after moving. They were like ‘you are ok, we got you setup.’ I went in again and asked if I’m doing everything I’m supposed to do and they said ‘oh yeah, yeah, yeah…’ Then all of a sudden they pull me out of class my senior year and said a whole semester did not transfer and I would have to make up all the credits,” she said.
Cordova decided to drop out of high school with the intent of getting her General Education Diploma (GED) instead, she said.
Cordova said she studied for it, but for some reason or another such as money issues, the three month waiting period, and other similar issues, young people tend to never get around to getting it done as she also hadn’t, she said.
She was able to get good jobs but would ultimately have to leave them because she had lied about having her High School Diploma and was found out, Cordova said.
At 21, Cordova had a child and she still did not have a Diploma or G.E.D., she said.
Soon after having her child she found out about the Welfare to Work (WTW) program, which among other services, could help her get into a community college and pay for her GED, she said.
“I was like, ‘Okay, I’m on board’ and I took the class and soon the program helped me get to CNM,” Cordova said.
WTW and the career specialist with the program helped Cordova write her very first résumé, and she was then able to take her Accuplacer exam, which she received college-level scores on, and after the exam, she then received her GED, paid for by WTW, which was what made her able to start taking courses as an official CNM college student, she said.
Cordova started at CNM in 2001, had her second child in 2005, and received her Associates in 2007, she said.
Cordova still has a fondness for the college and that is one of the reasons she loves her job, she said.
“I like what I get to do now. A big part of why I like it is I get to interact with CNM and get as many students over there as possible. The dual credit department has been awesome and whenever I need help they are on call or email. I was just messaging an advisor with a student to walk him through online advisement so there is a lot of support and it makes my job easier here at school,” Cordova said.
Cordova’s career decision came from her experiences whether they were good or bad, she said. She would have liked to have somebody to tell her what she can do to make her life easier and now she gets to try and make her student’s lives easier, she said.
She does not know where she would be if she would have graduated in the normal fashion and she believes the incident actually helped lead her to what she does now, she said.
Now she just wants to help, in any way, to get students to graduate high school and think about college, she said.
Once she graduated with her Bachelor’s from Highlands University, she decided she was going to work for schools and found CEPI which had a really nice setup and every staff member is used to help students in any way they can, which reminded her of CNM, she said.
“Honestly if I could have created a dream job that I wanted to do when I was 17, it would have been this job. Luckily it was already created for me and I found my way into it,” Cordova said.