November 30, 2020
Las Vegas, N.M. – New Mexico Highlands University Dean of Students Kimberly Blea is part of a national virtual panel Dec. 9 that will discuss supporting campus communities in a polarized environment following the 2020 election.
The National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) is presenting the panel for the higher education community.
“Voicing political opinions is important to the student experience because it provides an opportunity for students to dialogue in a way that is respectful, but also challenges them to think about or view things from a different perspective,” Blea said.
Blea was asked to present on the panel because she is a senior student affairs officer at a small regional public minority-serving institution. Blea is active in NASPA and serves on the organization’s Small College and Universities Division Advisory Board as the Region IV-West representative.
“At a very foundation level, we at Highlands can respect and understand that all political opinions and beliefs are valued, regardless if they are different from our own. The diversity of opinions and beliefs is what makes institutions of higher education especially unique,” Blea said.
Blea said that student clubs and organizations at Highlands support differences.
“We have various student clubs and organizations in place that bring together groups based on a shared interest. These clubs give students opportunities to discuss and engage in dialogue and also get active in leadership roles,” Blea said.
Blea said the Dec. 9 NASPA virtual panel will also focus upon potential federal policy changes in higher education that might occur during the new Biden presidential administration.
“Some federal policy revisions could include changes to college affordability and student loan debt, impacts for minority-serving institutions, as well as international students and DACA students with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program immigration status. There may also be Title IX changes that deal with gender equity issues,” Blea said.