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Saturday, February 15, 2003

Former UNM President Among WNMU Regents

By Loie Fecteau
Journal Politics Writer
    SANTA FE A former president of the University of New Mexico, a mining company lobbyist and a student were confirmed as regents at Western New Mexico University by the Senate on Friday.
    Confirmed were:
   
  • Tony Trujillo, director of government relations for Phelps Dodge Mining Co. and chairman of New Mexico First;
       
  • Bud Davis, a retired educator who served as president of UNM for seven years, beginning in 1975;
       
  • Sharon Zuniga, a sociology major at WNMU.
        Sen. Rod Adair, R-Roswell, and several other Republican senators left the Senate floor to avoid voting on the new WNMU regents because of continuing controversy over their having signed undated resignation letters for Gov. Bill Richardson.
        Adair contends that Richardson's policy of having his appointees to university boards sign resignation letters Richardson could invoke at will is in conflict with the state constitution.
        While the governor can remove most appointees to boards and commissions at will, the constitution says regents can be removed only for "incompetence, neglect of duty or malfeasance in office," and only after they are provided hearings, Adair said.
        "I will not vote for these regents appointees because of their unconstitutionality," Adair said Friday.
        Adair stressed that he was not questioning the qualifications of the new regents.
        Senate Majority Leader Manny Aragon, D-Albuquerque, said Davis had "an exceptional career in higher education."
        Davis, who lives in Corrales, was chancellor at Louisiana State University and worked at the University of Wyoming, Idaho State University, and Oregon State University.
        Sen. Tim Jennings, D-Roswell, said he hadn't "always seen eye to eye" with Trujillo, a familiar figure at the Roundhouse.
        "He's a worthy adversary and Western is lucky to have him," Jennings said of Trujillo.