Gov. Bill Richardson is backing a proposal to change the way regents are selected for the University of New Mexico, New Mexico State University and New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.
Under the New Mexico Constitution, the current system provides for the governor to select and appoint regents. Under the proposed change, a committee of faculty and community members would be appointed by the governor or a designee and would receive and review nominations and recommend three finalists to the governor, who would select the final nominee.
“Any governor would benefit from the having the best advice available regarding the qualifications needed for a particular Board of Regents, and the best potential nominees,” Richardson said in a news release this week.
Richardson said the proposal was brought to him by leaders of the Faculty Senate of the University of New Mexico, in consultation with the Faculty Senate leaders at the other two research-oriented universities in the state.
The UNM Faculty Senate unanimously passed the proposal Tuesday, and Richardson said the Faculty Senates at NMSU and New Mexico Tech would be taking it up at upcoming meetings and he would be issuing an executive order in the coming weeks.
Tuesday, 24 August 2010 19:21
The UNM Faculty Senate wants to depoliticize the way regents are selected at the state’s three major universities.
Under a proposal passed unanimously by the senate Tuesday, an eight- to 10-member committee would recommend three names to the governor whenever a regent’s position opens at the University of New Mexico, New Mexico State University or New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.
Under the current system, which is spelled out in the New Mexico Constitution, the governor selects and appoints regents.
The other two schools’ faculty senates are expected to vote on the proposal in the coming weeks.
“This is the 21st century, and economic and cultural development are vital at the state’s research universities,” UNM Faculty Senate President Richard Wood said in an interview. “We feel like input from the widest, most diverse group possible is just a matter of good governance.”
UNM Regents President Raymond Sanchez said he learned of the senate’s proposal Monday.
“The Faculty Senate has the absolute right to recommend any process they feel will assist,” Sanchez said. “However, the (state) constitution presently sets out the process and has worked without any concerns that I am aware of for many years.”
He said the senate’s proposal would require a constitutional amendment.
“The input from the committee would be advisory,” he said. “The governor would still make the appointment. We decided we didn’t want to get in the business of changing the constitution.”
Under to the proposal, the committee would be appointed by the governor or a designee, and be composed of faculty and community members.
“Committee members will be sought who are familiar with higher education generally and research universities particularly,” the proposal states. “The overall committee should include equal numbers of faculty and community members, and should include members from diverse ethnic/racial backgrounds, from urban & rural areas, and from a variety of political viewpoints.”
Once the committee is appointed, under the proposal, its members would meet with the university’s regents president and administration to discuss which of the school’s needs should be filled by the next regent.
“Once this has occurred, (the committee) maintains no further contact with university administration, in order to prevent appearance of impropriety,” the proposal states.
The committee would then publicize the opening statewide, and after receiving applications, submit three names to the governor, the proposal states.