All members of the UNM Parent Association Board of Directors have resigned, following a dispute between the board and the UNM administration.
One of the Parent Association board members, Grant Kitting, said the board has chosen to disband because the UNM administration wanted a say in the selection of the association’s next president.
The 8,000-member association has not had a president since Aug. 1, but, according to the association’s bylaws, the association’s board nominates the president.
“Well, there are still members, but they no longer have an executive board because they all have already resigned,” Kitting said. “They want to put someone in charge of us so we’re under someone politically, but our bylaws state that we’re an independent association, we don’t need anyone’s ‘okey-dokey’ standpoint.”
Last year, the association awarded $1,000 scholarships to 40 UNM students, and without the Parent Association to generate scholarship money, students miss out on an opportunity to help pay for school.
“The people that are really going to be affected by this are the students, they’re the ones getting this money,” he said. “Every cent generated by the association went to scholarships, and it’s not even all students, it’s for the needy students. I have three sons and they don’t benefit from the money generated by the association, only the students in need of it do.”
Kitting said the main function of the association is to generate funding for scholarships for needy students and that, because the association is independent, it does not rely on funding from the University. He said allegations that the UNM administration funded the association are false by virtue of the association’s bylaws.
“They have never ever, ever given us funds,” he said. “We’re an independent association of parents; the administration has never funded us.”
In May 2011, the Parent Association president and the Board of Regents president signed a memorandum of understanding that established the association as officially affiliated with UNM. According to the memorandum, UNM would provide facilities and services to help with fundraising efforts, but said nothing about providing funds to the association.
UNM communications officer Cinnamon Blair said the gradual evolution of the Parent Association as an official University organization warrants further discussion between the two parties.
“There has been this evolution of the Parent Association, this conversation has always been going on. It’s always been pretty collaborative,” she said.
A notification of an emergency meeting for the association was sent out Tuesday, and the disbanding of the Parent Association was an item on the meeting agenda.