The New Mexico State University Board of Regents held a regular meeting at 2:00 PM on Monday, January 31, 2005, lasting more than 2-1/2 hours, at the Hotel de Santa Fe, Santa Fe, NM. It was planned in conjunction with "Las Cruces Days" which started the previous Saturday, an opportunity for business and community interests to enjoy organized schmoozing with southern New Mexico legislators, the governor, etc.

 Board President Robert M. Gallagher was erratic in starting on the agenda, but the usual "drill" on the minutes of the earlier Executive Session was followed: unanimous approval that matters discussed in the session were entirely within the scope of its agenda.1 No member of the press was present, although David McCollum, Bulletin editor, had been much in evidence in "Las Cruces Days" activities, headquartered in the same hotel.

 Pat Quintana, NMSU lobbyist, was jumped to an early spot on the agenda and reported that there were some 225 bills before the legislature to be monitored, more or less affecting NMSU. She then hurried off to the Roundhouse to monitor some of them. Associate Vice President Jennifer Taylor reported that modest increases are planned in housing and boarding charges next year.  She assured the regents that NMSU will still be in a very competitive position regarding these costs.

 Considerable attention was given to the detailed preliminary report on enrollment by Vice President Gladys DeNecochea: the gist being that it is down slightly in almost every category from a year ago, the only significant exception being in "distance learning."2 Several regents expressed concern that real challenges lie ahead in re-establishing and maintaining growth, which is absolutely essential for the life of the institution, they reiterated.

 President Michael Martin, in his remarks (last on the agenda as usual), waxed enthusiastic about the proposed "Transitional College," with assurance that it will contribute to growth by serving potential students who are turned off by the standard modes of matriculation. He concluded with a strong defense of the university administration's policy of absolute neutrality as to the possible formation of an AFSCME unit (read, "union") on campus. It is entirely up to the staff, to form one or not. Martin's only concern is that the staff and faculty have all the facts before them before they act.

 1 Per NMSU website, the purpose of the "closed executive session" was given in very broad terms: "to discuss limited personnel, legal and real estate matters in accordance with Sections ... of the NM Open Meetings Act." Thus, we assume they did not discuss Lobo football scores

 2 There being no reporter present, later newspaper and other accounts were based on "releases" by NMSU public relations experts that enrollment had grown ? true only because of the one category, distance learning, where growth overwhelmed, so to speak, the reductions almost everywhere else.

John P. Bloom

 Common Cause