NMSU BOARD OF REGENTS
MEETING OF MONDAY, MARCH 12, 2007
NMSU Regents Room, Las Cruces
The meeting was called to order about twenty minutes late, from the regents
late arrival from their Executive Session. All regents were present,
including the newly appointed student member, Ed Kellum, but excepting ex
officio member Ben Hardy (President, Associated Students of NMSU). Regents
President M. Steven Anaya opened the meeting with the call, "How about them
Aggies!" A celebration of the highly successful WAC basketball tournament
ensued, with comments by Athletic Director McKinley Boston, notably praise
for Maria Roth who was the "point person" in making all arrangements. The
regents received commemorative Nambé wine coolers in recognition of the
support they had provided.
A small gesture was made toward audience understanding of the proceedings
was noted in that some hand-outs* were provided relating to agenda items.
The agenda was approved with only one change, deletion without explanation
of "Approval of Honorary Degree Recipient" from the Consent Calendar. There
having been two Executive Sessions since the previous Regents meeting,
"ratification" statements were required, a roll call vote drawing (as
always) unanimous consent. A slight nod toward reality was observed in that,
for the earlier (Jan. 29) session, the subjects discussed were "personnel,
real estate, and water rights" matters but, for the same-day session, the
matters discussed were set forth in the standard, meaningless, boilerplate
formula: "personnel, real estate, and legal" matters. The date of the next
Regents meeting was changed from April 20 to April 13.
Following minimal discussion a new major (See 3, below) was approved and
also a strong resolution supporting Spaceport America. More discussion was
held preceding approval of "Ground Lease Agreement" between NMSU and Las
Cruces for eight acres on the NMSU campus. It was not stated in the agenda,
but the parcel is intended for a conference or convention center. An
agreement involving water was approved also, also unanimously, with no
substantive discussion. An item in the former agreement caught this
observer's eye, namely, that the city's "center" will allow "Seven (7)
events per year at no cost to NMSU." No inquiry was made whether such
"events" would involve use of the whole center, or one or two conference
rooms, a banquet hall, or what -- or how decisions on holding such events
will be made.
With the audience including perhaps six or eight representatives of the
AFSCME union, attention focused closely on NMSU President Michael Martin's
report. He asserted that "hard" negotiations were being carried out between
the administration and the union. He remains disappointed, however, that
persons involved in these negotiations have, too often, not done their
homework. Thus they do not understand the legal, constitutional and other
restraints which apply to the university. These can easily be studied on the
internet. Thrown into this litany was reference to NMSU's policy on staff
remuneration, long established. The seeming implication was that such policy
cannot be altered any more than NMSU can revise the state constitution.
Regent Robert Gallagher, so readily quoted in the press year in and year
out, engaged in what he sometimes calls a "rant." He concluded with a
challenge for NMSU and union negotiators to agree upon a contract within
thirty days, i.e., for submission to the next regents meeting. But, he
stated, it cannot be a budget buster, and it cannot benefit some 1300
favored employees (union members?) while ignoring the rest of the
university's 6000-member staff.
The annual election of regents officers took place, with the slate placed
into nomination by member Blake Curtis, seconded and adopted by unanimous
vote: Laura Conniff to be President (again), Robert Gallagher Vice
President, Steven Anaya Secretary-Treasurer.
John P. Bloom
March 12, 2007
for Southern New Mexico Common Cause
*(1) NMSU News Bureau, "Backgrounder: Benefits of a Proposed City Convention
Center." (2) "Action Item" presented by NMSU Senior Vice President Ben
Woods: background statement and proposed resolution in favor of "Spaceport
America." (3) Rationale, etc., by College of Agriculture and
Home Economics for new "Major in Agriculture and Community Development."