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Home / Articles / News / Local News /  Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Dec. 10

December 9, 2008, 12:00 am
By

Women’s Prisons
In Silja JA Talvi’s article [“Fallen Women”], Talvi accurately highlights the challenges facing incarcerated women, including the social pollutions and concomitant issues that make women vulnerable to imprisonment—poverty, trauma, substance use and mental health challenges, to name a few. Talvi points out the need for gender-responsive services, informed by the fact that women prisoners are different than incarcerated men.

For the past six years, the New Mexico Corrections Department has been actively engaged in implementing gender-responsive initiatives that improve the lives of women prisoners during and after their incarceration. Our commitment to gender-specific inmate management continues. In January, we will begin a year long risk and needs assessment pilot project designed to better match women to services and programs during their sentence, focusing on preparation for successful re-entry and reintegration. This pilot will be tied to the incorporation of a strengths-based survey designed to measure the assets a prisoner and her family already possess, and how those assets can be enhanced to ensure that once a woman is released, she stays out.

Lastly, all staff members at the New Mexico Women’s Correctional Facility have been trained as trauma-informed and gender-responsive workers in order to maximize their capacity to provide safe, effective and compassionate services for women prisoners.
Bernie Lieving, LMSW
Reentry Bureau Chief
New Mexico Corrections Department

Two Cents
I’m a newcomer to Santa Fe, living here just since 2004, so I generally avoid taking sides in arguments among people whose roots here go back for decades or centuries. However, I have been here long enough to remember the early planning for the new convention center. When it was discovered that an ancient burial ground lay under the construction site, the pueblos protested. The city had indisputable sovereignty and could have ignored them. Instead, in the spirit of amity and multicultural respect, it engaged in negotiations and actually changed the plans and removed some 100 parking spaces, which are at a premium in downtown Santa Fe.

So I was very disappointed last summer, when the pueblo leaders showed no reciprocal sense of respect as they destroyed their historic buildings without notice or discussion. I wonder what sort of reception they hope to get the next time a city project offends their sensibilities.
Paul Chapin
Santa Fe

Save CSF
I know you have already reported on the failed deal with Laureate, but our need is more dire than that story could express. If CSF shuts down, it will not just be a loss to the students, staff and professors; it will have a major impact on the community of Santa Fe and all of New Mexico. This is a plea to the community to do everything you can to help our school stay open. CSF is of high importance to higher education, the arts and the economy of northern New Mexico. Please, support the students of CSF in our campaign to save our school. Write letters, make phone calls, put up signs. Tell the governor CSF is important to you. Please don’t let a 150-year-old institution be dissolved right under your noses.
Emily R Barker
CSF Class of 2010?
Santa Fe

Save Me
I am currently a junior at the College of Santa Fe. I transferred to CSF after my freshman year of college. I came from a world-renowned university in Europe to Santa Fe in the hopes of pursuing a more personalized and interactive education. I found this at CSF, and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here. I have truly found an academic and artistic haven in this school. I have taken some of the most interesting courses from incredible professors, and I have been able to receive a level of support and caring from these professors that is unheard of at larger institutions. At CSF, every student matters, and every student has valid and valuable skills to add to the community.

I sacrificed the value of a big-name school to come to a school in the desert that no one has heard of. I get blank stares when I tell people where I go to school, but when I describe my courses, and the opportunities available to me at this school, I am met with surprise and intrigue. I would love to see more people informed about the amazing opportunities that the College of Santa Fe can offer. I am currently working on a Self-Designed Major, something that I am deeply invested in. Few colleges offer this opportunity to students, but CSF does, and encourages it. I have been given the chance to combine all my interests and create a valid degree. Instead of being stuck in a broad topic such as Political Science or History, I have been able to combine these and more into a cohesive personalized educational plan.

My investment in the College of Santa Fe goes beyond personal. My family has invested a considerable amount of money in my time here, not only in tuition and books, but in living and travel expenses as well. I have taken credit overloads for the past two semesters, and have incurred the fees of that. Tuition is high, but I feel that my education is worth this investment. However, as the future of the school is uncertain, I need to be assured that this investment will not be put to waste. The last thing I want to do is transfer to another college. I am only a few semesters away from graduating, and many schools have a minimum semester requirement for graduation. I plan to graduate early, if not on time, and if the College of Santa Fe cannot continue, then I will have to spend more time in undergraduate education than necessary. This will not only put a financial burden on my family, but will also hinder my future plans to attend law school.

 The College of Santa Fe is a unique institution. It has allowed me to explore so much about the world, my interests, and the role art plays in the world. CSF is unique, as are its students, faculty, and staff. I have met some of the most interesting and intriguing people here, and I have yet to find such a group elsewhere. We defy categorization, we are individuals, and the school serves as a gathering place for creative and motivated minds. Without this school, not only would these students lose the chances they have here, and the community of Santa Fe would lose a crucial part of itself. This is something I would hate to see happen, and I truly hope that it does not.
Rebecca Scriven
Santa Fe

Elitism
This is a letter drafted December 4th, 2008 by committee member Mr. Yorgun Marcel, edited by Mr. James Ardis and members of the council.

On Behalf of the Staff Council of the College of Santa Fe, I wanted to voice my profound disappointment in some of the contents of Zane Fischer’s article from his Zane’s World column entitled “Homespun Bailout” in the December 3-9 issue of the Santa Fe Reporter.

Many of us have come to regard your publication as not only a strong impartial voice for the community, but also as a friend of the college, and all of its employees. We have seen your commitment to the college and its various activities as evidence of your understanding of the vital role that this College plays in making Santa Fe such a culturally rich and vibrant city. We believed your publication to be committed to all the inhabitants of Santa Fe regardless of their cultural or socio economic background.

Zane Fisher’s recent column states that:  “In addition to legislators, representatives from other state schools are likely to cry foul. Spread already precious resources even thinner for the benefit of that stuffy pack of elitists up in the capital?” 

That is the question he asks, before he begins to outline why in his opinion, the city and the county “better get off their hands”, citing the direct economic impact of a major employer, going on to the ripple effect this could have on community businesses, Mr. Fisher fully displays his understanding of the role that the College of Santa Fe plays in the economic growth and stability of the city.

Unfortunately, in his attempt to identify the people directly impacted by a possible closure of the college, Mr. Fisher inadvertently becomes an active participant of the very ills described earlier in his article, and demonstrates for his readers exactly why legislators, representatives from other state schools, and probably people outside of Santa Fe might consider people from the capital a stuffy pack of elitists.

Sadly, not once in his article does Mr. Fisher consider the staff of the College of Santa Fe. (There is a significant difference between being a staff person and a faculty member) For example:  faculty members have employment contracts; staff members are at will employees.  Faculty’s first reaction in meetings with Dr. Kirk this week was to motion for the reinstatement of their tenure.  In contrast, Staff’s first reaction even before meeting with Dr. Kirk was to develop a plan that included possible cutbacks in staff work hours / salaries to avoid massive layoffs and hopefully make a positive contribution to the survival of the college as a whole.

Mr. Fisher considers the students and faculty of CSF as “integral to the fabric and identity of the community” and I wholeheartedly agree- but so much for the contributions of the 160 plus staff members and their families that would equally be impacted by the closure of the college.

In following Mr. Fisher’s continuing coverage of the financial situation at CSF, it is also interesting to note that it began only when faculty layoffs were being considered, and ultimately carried out last year. Never mind that for the last four years, there have been consistent staff layoffs because of the ever increasing financial difficulties the college faced.  I mentioned earlier, we do not have a contract or tenure to shield us.  Yet here we are again, willing to consider all kinds of belt tightening measures in an effort to help the college sustain itself until it can ink out a deal-  only to be told in print how little our loss would impact the community.

This is the kind of elitist attitude that we have come to expect from academia, but did not expect from a publication such as the Santa Fe Reporter.
Staff Council
College of Santa Fe

 

Bill, Old Buddy...
Dear Governor Bill Richardson and the Santa Fe Community,

Our congratulations to you, Governor Richardson, on your recent appointment to the position of Commerce Secretary in the Obama Administration's Cabinet. The students, staff, and faculty of the College of Santa Fe would also like to thank you for your interest in the continued life of the College of Santa Fe, a vital arts-oriented college that serves the needs of the State of New Mexico, our region, and the world. We would like you to know that we are all united in our commitment to furthering this mission, and that we see many advantages to all parties in the possibility of becoming part of the State's higher education system.

As you know, the College of Santa Fe (CSF) has been an integral part of the living fabric of the State, particularly Northern New Mexico, and is the oldest institution of higher education in the State. The Christian Brothers, LaSallian teaching order, who founded New Mexico's early educational systems set the standard for student-centered education that serves entire communities. We continue to follow this mission as a teaching institution, and it sets us apart from many other colleges and universities. CSF's educational programs continue to produce excellent teachers for our public and private schools, passing along the tradition of treating each student as an individual, facilitating their intellectual growth and respect for one another, and the creative life of the mind and senses. CSF's Albuquerque Campus also provides exceptional service to the State through its outstanding curriculum, including weekend and evening classes for working families, military service personnel, and many others.

The College of Santa Fe is nationally recognized as a respected arts college, with strength in Creative Writing, Contemporary Music, Graphic Design, Moving Image Arts, Photography, Theater, and Visual Arts. Our faculty includes many widely recognized artists and practitioners in these fields, who help our departments to excel over many national institutions and attract students from across the country and world. The entire college community contributes significantly to the cultural and intellectual life of the Capital City by hosting internationally known visiting artists, lecturers and performers. The current Santa Fe Poet Laureate is a faculty member at the College. The arts, a hallmark of our city, are also supported through exhibitions in our Fine Arts Gallery, the Marion Center Atrium Gallery, showings at The Screen, the MOV-IN New Media Arts Gallery, Garson Theater productions, the Sculpture Project, and the newly opened Council 241 Student Gallery in CSF's Visual Arts Center

Our strong visual and performing arts education is supported by our vibrant liberal arts academic areas, which are integrated across the curriculum to emphasize development of the whole human being, from philosophical perspectives to sustainable environmental exploration and scientific achievement. Our students graduate with current knowledge in business, biology, the political and environmental sciences and psychology, along with a humanistic desire to serve their communities through art therapy, medicine, teaching, and the arts. Ethics and cultural awareness comprise another overarching layer of content built into the College of Santa Fe's core curriculum, as does a respect for the diverse backgrounds and individual human rights of our students, staff, and faculty, and our multicultural community.

The economic benefits accruing to Santa Fe and the State from our students, staff, faculty, visiting parents, artists, scholars, applicants for college positions and political speakers (most recently Michelle Obama) contribute significantly to the economic health of our city, bringing in tens of millions of dollars annually. The Garson Studios play an important and growing role in the State's burgeoning film industry, with credits that include last year's Oscar for best film "No Country for Old Men," "Legion," with Dennis Quaide and Paul Bettany, "Brothers," with Natalie Portman, Jake Gyllenhaal and Toby Maguire, "North Country," with Charlize Theron and Woody Harrelson, "The Missing," with Tommy Lee Jones and Kate Blanchett, and "City Slickers," among many other important movies. The NM Filmmakers Intensive, supported by the state and a part of the Moving Image Arts Department at CSF, is very successfully educating "above the line" filmmakers to contribute to the New Mexican film industry's growth.

CSF also has a superb record of collaboration with other members of the local and statewide community, such as institutions of higher learning, the state museum and gallery systems, and entities such as the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, the Office of the New Mexico State Historian, the Santa Fe Opera, the New Mexico Film Office, the Museum of New Mexico, the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, SITE Santa Fe, Santa Fe's Public Schools, Warehouse 21, the Santa Fe Institute, the Institute of American Indian Arts, and the Santa Fe Art Institute, among many, many others.

We feel strongly that with enlightened leadership, guidance and resources from the State of New Mexico, our learning community will continue to grow and enhance the lives of our people and institutions. We are proud of our place in New Mexico's history and equally hopeful that a creative collaboration with the State will make it possible for us to continue our contribution to advancing education in New Mexico and nourishing the powerful spirit of our unique place, people, and culture.
The Students, Staff, and Faculty of the College of Santa Fe

 

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