As Michelle Lujan Grisham gets set to take the reins as New Mexico Governor, the President of the Associated Students of the University of New Mexico Becka Myers sent a letter urging Grisham to appoint a more diverse Board of Regents.
In her letter, Myers said, “It is critical to me and all of us at ASUNM that our Regents reflect that diversity, which includes ethnicity, heritage, culture, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, ideas, and professional backgrounds.”
Grisham will have the opportunity to appoint at least five new regents due to term limits. During the campaign, Grisham told the Santa Fe Reporter “I’m not satisfied with the work of any of the regents at UNM,” but stopped short of saying she will ask Regent-President Robert Doughty and Vice President Marron Lee to resign.
With democrats controlling the state senate, it seems unlikely that Grisham will face the same gridlock as current Governor Susana Martinez when making appointments.
For two years, the New Mexico Senate blocked Martinez’ appointees. That has disrupted the typical process of staggered appointments, leading to the upcoming block of five vacancies.
The incoming regents will be confronted with several controversial decisions when their terms began, including a shortfall of student fees, several cut sports and a Board of Regents that has had public spats with other UNM representative bodies, including ASUNM.
Regent Thomas Clifford called Faculty Senate President Pamela Pyle “cowardly” during a Board of Regents meeting in September as reported by the Daily Lobo.
In August, the Board of Regents voted to cut four sports from the Athletics Department budget as reported by the Daily Lobo. The cut came amid Title IX compliance issues and was followed by an investigation in the spending activities of former Athletics Director Paul Krebs.
ASUNM has written several resolutions in response, commending the teams and denouncing the regents decision.
In an interview before Wednesday night’s ASUNM Full Senate meeting, Myers said she was excited about the upcoming administration and said she hopes Grisham will appoint regents who listen to the UNM community in addition to being diverse.
Grisham is set to take office on Jan. 1, 2019.
Justin Garcia is freelance reporter with the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers ASUNM. He can be contacted at email@example.com and on Twitter at @just516garc.