NMSU BOARD OF REGENTS - Meeting of Tuesday, July 17, 2007
John P. Bloom for Southern NM Common Cause
This regularly scheduled meeting was called to order a few minutes late because the earlier Executive Session ran over. Laura M. Conniff, Chair, announced that it would be an "informational meeting" only, that no votes would be taken. Although she asserted that the spirit as well as the letter of the law had been met in calling the meeting, they would "lean over backwards" so there would be no basis for complaint regarding compliance with the NM Open Meetings Act. At the end of the meeting it was announced that a special meeting would be held on Monday, July 23, 2007, at 9:30 AM, in Hadley Hall.*
Proceeding under (without voting on) the proposed agenda, the meeting commenced with introductions, featuring the new Aggie basketball coach, Marvin Menzies. Jocularly, it was suggested that we are exchanging "Reggie's Nation" for "Menzies Frenzy." The next regularly scheduled meeting on September 7 will probably be held in Albuquerque rather than, as listed, in Las Cruces. Long presentations were made on the three listed "Action Items": changes in the Business Procedures Manual, Line Item Project Requests, and a new scheme of "Planning 2-Plan," the last by NMSU Vice President Michael Hites. All, or practically all NMSU committee and other planning, from department level up, is to be coordinated. The proposal was long and complicated but included "community" in many places. Asking Dr. Hites afterwards what "community" meant in this context, I got the impression that committee members would go out and learn for themselves what may be wanted or needed in the "community." And of course they would communicate with legislators, city officials, etc.
NMSU President Michael Martin mentioned "soft rumors" in reporting: yes, maybe, no promises, but perhaps funds can be generated in slimming down the administrative staff (by attrition: nobody will be fired) sufficient to provide faculty and staff salary increases in 2007-08. The AFSCME contract having been ratified, the NMSU Labor Relations Committee has been formed and is at work fleshing out future procedures, etc. The process leading to re-accreditation is under way, and he noted that in his experience the required institutional self-study involved in this has always been the most valuable aspect of the whole process. With something of a "Thou protesteth overmuch" tone, he asserted that there is no conflict of interest in the arrangement by which former provost William Flores now serves the NM Higher Education Department.
*The Open Meetings Act states (10-15-1.F.) in part, "Except in the case of an emergency, the agenda shall be available to the public at least twenty-four hours prior to the meeting." NMSU always announces that this shall be done, but the agenda was not available anywhere until after 3:00 PM on Monday, July 16, as I ascertained at the office of the University Communications News Bureau. I am not aware of any claim of emergency here.