NMSU BOARD OF REGENTS
MEETING OF MONDAY, JANUARY 29, 2007
Eldorado Hotel, Santa Fe
The meeting was called to order by President Steve Anaya about 9:00 AM with
all members present except Blake Curtis. He arrived in about twenty minutes,
his appointment to the board having just been confirmed at the Roundhouse.
Interestingly, no member of the press was present. The room was configured,
however, in a much more audience-friendly manner than at the previous
meeting in the same venue, when non-official attendees were forced to the
exterior of a huge U-shaped table.
The agenda was approved without major change. The "Ratification of Statement
Regarding Prior Executive Session(s)" was carried with the usual
boiler-plate language bearing on "personnel and real estate matters."
Talking informally after the meeting with Regents President M. Steven Anaya,
I reminded him that the "real estate matter" relating to the proposed Las
Cruces Convention Center was supposed to have been settled in a few weeks
after the regents' meeting of December 2, 2006. I pointed out that the
agenda included no mention whatever of this matter. He stated that there
were still some points on which final agreement had not been reached, and
negotiations were still under way.
Under "Action Items" the focus was on the Arrowhead Center and its
(approved) merger with the Research Park Corporation. Dean Garrey Carruthers
made an extended presentation and considerable discussion ensued, all
upbeat. Much attention was given to projected development of university
property extending down to the juncture of I-25 and I-10. A possible 8-story
headquarters building there would be something of an attention-getting
anchor or symbol of NMSU's growing status.
NMSU President Michael Martin emphatically but with humor played down press
reporting of his possibly taking the presidency of Purdue University.
Turning to the proposed budget, he made comparisons between the proposals of
the governor and the legislative finance committee. Each had some aspects
advantageous to NMSU. The outcome could not be predicted in detail, but the
general outlook is pretty good. He turned to Athletic Director McKinley
Boston for an extended report on the academic success of university
athletes: average 83% graduation rate, which is good, the volleyball team
especially outstanding. Twenty of the 22 student athletes "at risk" are in
football, which led to some discussion, notably with questioning by
Professor Larry Creider (Chair, Faculty Senate, ex-officio Regent). Boston
stated that the crux of the problem with that group was a combination of
"inheritance" (meaning students on hand before present Coach Hal Mumme took
over) and some "bad decisions" in his initial recruiting. Boston feels "very
good" about the future outlook here, however.
Vice President Rebecca Dukes reported happily that the $150 million target
amount for the NMSU Foundation's endowment drive had already been reached,
four years early. So they will now go for another $75 million, for a total
of $225 million. Vice President Carmen Gonzales's preliminary report on
student enrollment was generally good, with only a few "soft" spots. Oddly,
there are fewer graduate students but they are taking more credit hours.
Legislative Liaison Director Pat Quintana fled from the Roundhouse long
enough for a brief report, generally upbeat. There are some 600 bills with
some potential impact upon NMSU, 150 or so with direct bearing on the
The meager press reports after this regents meeting depended heavily upon
press releases by the large NMSU public relations staff. Thus there was
little or no attention to a notable departure from the practice of recent
years. An end-of-meeting presentation of grievances by three persons from
the large contingent of NMSU employees in the audience was allowed. (It was
not announced in the published agenda, coming under "Other.") Most if not
all were union (AFSME) members. The third speaker was a union official.
Regents President Anaya laid it upon them heavily that no negotiation was to
take place. They explained their grievances briefly, and the difficulty of
subsisting upon the low rates of pay they receive. Brief give-and-take with
the regents included slightly heated charges and denial whether President
Martin had been unfairly attacked by union spokespersons. In this observer's
view, this very limited interchange with persons not university officials
was significant only if it leads to more opening up of regents' meetings.
John P. Bloom
For Southern New Mexico Common Cause