Dear members of the Lobo community –

Just as each of us defines all of us, if violence or tragedy affects one of us, it affects us all. I’ve been deeply saddened by two devasting events that occurred over the past few days, both of which included the loss of life. The senseless deaths of UNM student Shanta Hanish and her mother in their home, and the bus crash in Colorado that killed two and injured many other passengers on a charter bus affiliated with the UNM Aquinas Newman Center. My condolences to the family and friends of those taken from us too early, and prayers for a swift recovery to those injured in the accident. 

Although details of the events leading to Shanta’s death are still unfolding, it appears to have been the result of domestic violence—which 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men in the United States have experienced by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Shanta aspired to a career in education, focused on improving the lives of young people. That we have lost someone so dedicated to the future of the children of New Mexico hurts us all, as does the loss of her mother, who cared deeply about the people of our state.

As a campus, and a community, this type of violence cannot and will not be tolerated. Domestic violence, or intimate partner violence, can occur in a variety of ways: physical, emotional, sexual and financial, just to name a few. It is not always easy to see the warning signs of abuse in a relationship and is even more difficult to recognize them when one is experiencing them.

There are a number of resources available on- and off-campus to assist students, faculty or staff who may be experiencing intimate partner violence. Our resource centers, including the LoboRESPECT Advocacy CenterLGBTQ Resource CenterWomen’s Resource Centerand others offer information, assistance and support. The SHAC is also available for counseling services. If you are experiencing abuse, or suspect someone else is, please seek help from these resources.

It is my hope that we will continue to choose kindness, compassion and understanding, not only during these difficult times, but always.


Garnett S. Stokes