The University of New Mexico's official seal depicting a Spanish conquistador and a frontiersman is drawing accusations of racism from Native American students, the AP reports. Native American students in the Kiva Club, as well as members of advocacy group Red Nation, call the seal offensive, the Albuquerque Journal reports. The seal is stamped on all diplomas and is present at most school events. Oceti Sakowin tribe member and UNM doctoral student Nick Estes designed his own version of the seal in protest, with the conquistador and frontiersman standing atop a pile of bones. He spoke at an organizing meeting for students against the current seal, saying it represents racism at the school.
"To have this on my diploma is an insult of the highest order," Estes said. University President Bob Frank says he'd be open to discussing the students' ideas. He earned degrees from the institution in the 1970s. "It's a seal I have always known," Frank says. "I certainly understand that people may have different points of view. If they want to talk about it, I am open to the conversation." Students have started a petition opposing the seal, but no official complaint has been filed with the university. (A small New York town has decided to get rid of a seal that supposedly depicted the town's founder having a "friendly wresting match" with a Native American.)