Tensions among Board of Regents members came to a head when one decided to leave the position entirely, citing ineffective communication and leadership.
Regent Alex O. Romero resigned from the University of New Mexico Board of Regents Wednesday after only serving in the position for eight months.
“It’s a lack of respect,” said Romero during an interview with the Daily Lobo when explaining his reasons for leaving.
Romero said his main issue with the board stemmed from the leadership styles of both Regent Robert M. Doughty, president of the board, and Regent Marron Lee, vice president of the board.
“Their style of leadership is…not as collaborative,” he said. “It was a bit of a clash.”
The Daily Lobo attempted to reach Doughty and Lee for comment late Wednesday afternoon, but as of the publication of this article, has not heard back.
Romero was given a recess appointment to the Board of Regents eight months ago — he never received a confirmation hearing for the position prior to resigning.
He first publicly raised concerns about communication and respect among the regents during the previous BOR meeting on Jan. 16.
According to the official meeting minutes, Romero expressed grievances to the board about “an uncomfortable situation the previous week,” further stating that “his voice will not be quieted.” Exactly what situation Romero was referring to is unclear.
This exchange occurred during Tuesday’s BOR meeting, during which Suzanne Quillen and Romero expressed a need for better communication, as reported in the Daily Lobo.
Regent Bradley C. Hosmer, in a written statement to the Daily Lobo, said he admired Romero during his time on the board, especially his diligence toward the multiple issues facing the University.
“He was concerned that the board think carefully about the longer term,” he said.
Hosmer also said Romero was particularly concerned about making incoming UNM President Garnett Stokes feel welcome at the University.
Romero said he was concerned about the board’s ability to do so.
“I don’t see it,” Romero said, in reference to the board being able to ingratiate Stokes into the University.
Romero said that, in the future, it was important for the regents to learn how to communicate better and become more collaborative in solving problems.
“This is a big campus — there is a lot of money,” he said, “You have to be collaborative (and) you have to be inclusive.”
According to Romero, he informed Gov. Susana Martinez of his decision to resign before his official announcement. Martinez, as governor, is in charge of appointing the regents of all the public universities in the state. She gave Romero the recess appointment in May of 2017.
“She was very gracious,” Romero said of Martinez’ reaction to his resignation. “She has been very supportive of me over the years.”
When asked what his future plans were, Romero said he intends to continue to help the community in some capacity. He said he was grateful for the opportunity that sitting on the Board of Regents provided him, specifically the people he met during that time.
“I met some absolutely remarkable people — it didn’t work out unfortunately,” he said.
Kyle Land is a news editor at the Daily Lobo. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @kyleoftheland.