APRIL 8, 2005

                        This meeting took place on campus in the Regents Room, Educational Services Center, starting at 1:30 PM. The agenda was very long and this observer had to leave at 4 PM to drive to Santa Fe, and so was not present to hear various reports (including that of Pres. Martin) scheduled as usual near the end of the proceedings. Press reports that I have seen focused entirely on the decision to increase tuition. As with practically all matters, this was acted on by a unanimous vote of the board, following a report and recommendation of the administration. (Interestingly, at the UNM regents meeting a few days later, according to the press, there was active discussion of the UNM administration's request, which was not followed: UNM regents voted a lower increase than was recommended to them.)

 Regents President Robert M. Gallagher exercised executive privilege in making frequent comments throughout the meeting which might or might not reflect the opinions of other board members. Of some interest to this observer was his extended remark early in the meeting when dates and places of future meetings were (unanimously, of course) agreed upon. He remarked dismissively that people who objected to meetings being held at branch campuses and in Santa Fe just didn't appreciate how important it is for regents to acquaint themselves with these places. Evidently this was in response to the little piece in the Las Cruces Sun-News on March 17 calling attention to the expense of these meetings. If public input had been permitted, this observer would have suggested that regents can familiarize themselves with branch campuses without the expense of so many vice presidents, deans, coaches, staff people, secretaries, etc., required to travel to such meetings.

 "Informational Items" on the agenda were heard, and of interest. Dean Schickedanz was asked about the decision several years ago to close the dairy department. Yes, he responded, some important issues have needed attention in recent years, mostly regarding waste management. Consultants are relied upon for the most part, in connection with dairying matters. There is no present plan to reinstate this department.

 Vice President Ben Woods gave an "update" on the "Proposed Hotel/Conference Center." (1) An appropriate "partner" is being actively sought. (2) It is intended to benefit both NMSU and the community. (3) Time is needed in order to plan carefully to serve "two masters" -- meaning NMSU and Southern NM. (4) The facility must offer a HIGH level of hotel service, not such as one finds in a typical convention center. It will be a CONFERENCE center. (5) A site east of the Golf Course is being considered. (6) The process to be followed will be open, with RFP's widely distributed, but many issues remain to be resolved with care, so that there will not likely be "news" in the near future in this regard.

 John P. Bloom

Common Cause