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Editorial: Regents right to rein in alumni

Some University of New Mexico regents are really not amused. And well they shouldn’t be at what unfortunately looks like a bait and switch – whether intended or not – by the UNM Alumni Association for its courtyard beautification project.

In 2015, the project was pitched to regents as a $50,000 touch-up maintenance project, paid for with alumni funds. Regents gave the association permission to raise that amount and the right to name the courtyard for longtime alumni leader, Karen Abraham, who retired in 2015.

But the project morphed into a $400,000 upgrade near the association’s office space on the main campus.

On Monday, the regents on the Finance and Facilities Committee called a halt to work on the project and ordered the association to come back with a better plan for the full regents’ meeting on Aug 18.

Regent Marron Lee called the expansion a “complete overreach” and said the association’s “blatant disregard” for the university’s procedures makes her want to put a regent on the association’s board.

Universities need the support of their alumni, and presumably the finished project will make that corner of the campus more pleasing, but it’s time to forge better communication and accountability.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.

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