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Some Lawmakers Propose Changing The Way University Regents Are Selected

SANTA FE, N.M. — Constitutional amendments changing the way university regents are selected were introduced today in the state House.

House Joint Resolution 9 focuses on the state’s biggest schools, the University of New Mexico and New Mexico State University. It would increase the number of  NMSU regents from five to seven, which is the number UNM already has. At the two schools, three of the seven would be elected by congressional district, and another two would be appointed by the governor, based on the recommendations of a nominating commission. One student regent and one faculty regent would round out the board.

House Joint Resolution 8 would create the regent nominating commission that would make recommendations to the governor. And it would extend the use of the nominating commission to the state’s other four-year colleges and universities, although the governor would continue to appoint all the members of those boards.

Rep. Jeff Steinborn, a Las Cruces Democrat who is one of the sponsors of the legislation, said the current system under which the governor appoints all regents makes the positions too political and doesn’t give local communities enough input.

If the Legislature approves constitutional amendments, they go on a statewide ballot for voter approval.

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