Regents Minutes - February 2011

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology Board of Regents

1:30 p.m., February 22, 2011

Kiva Room, Hotel Santa Fe

Santa Fe, New Mexico


The New Mexico Tech Board of Regents convened at 1:30 p.m., with Regent Ann Murphy Daily presiding.  Other Board members present were Secretary-Treasurer Jerry Armijo, Richard N. Carpenter, Abe Silver, Jr. and William Villanueva.  University administrators, staff, and guests who were also present included:

Daniel H. López

Peter Gerity

Van Romero

Melissa J. Fleming

John Meason

Robert Lee

Peter Scholle

Charles Rosacker

Miguel Hidalgo

Thomas Guengerich

Lonnie Marquez

Lala Garcia

Mark Adams

Richard Cervantes

Leyla Sedillo

Mike Kloeppel

Suzanne Barteau

1. Proof of Meeting Notice:  Dr. López provided proof of notice by submitting copies of newspaper ads and e-mails sent to media outlets announcing the Board of Regents meeting. 

4. Announcements

Regent Daily called on President López for announcements and he outlined the following:

Enrollment Updates:  Dr. López provided the current general report on enrollment.  Vice President Jaramillo, more specifically, indicated that 1197 applications have been received as of January 31, 2011.  Of those, 125 were paid applicants.  She reported having contacted nearby universities to learn more about the status of their enrollments.  Three of the four universities reported they were up; one university stated their numbers were down.  She further explained that Hispanic enrollment at Tech, was up by nine students compared to last year.  Regent Armijo referred to the 1197 applications showing 500 admitted but asked about the remaining 600; whose status was unclear.  Vice President Jaramillo explained that the 600 were still in process and some of them will convert to paid applicants.  Regent Carpenter, on a related matter, asked about international students and wanted to know how they were tracked.  The report did not reflect the number of currently enrolled international students but it was mentioned that international students are usually transfer students; therefore, are not captured in this report since only entering freshmen are included in this report.

The subject of distance learning was raised and the discussion revealed that it has become a significant portion of the university’s business.  Dr. López reported that distance learning enrollment is primarily made up of those students taking six hours or less, including a significant number of out-of-state students.  Dr. López advised the Board that this program is at risk of losing a major portion of its funding support due to the fact that the Legislature is considering eliminating the funding of students taking six or less hours. 

Regent Carpenter also asked about the summer session and wondered how those enrollment numbers are reflected in the report.  Vice President Jaramillo responded by stating that the month end reports capture summer enrollments. 

The Board also inquired about the number of New Mexico Tech students on the lottery scholarship.  Dr. López reported that only in-state students are eligible for the lottery scholarship; he reported that about 50% of New Mexico Tech in-state students participate in the lottery scholarship.

Student Housing:  Dr. López introduced Miguel Hidalgo who is on staff and working closely with other staff on the planning for student housing.  Mr. Hidalgo explained the process for seeking a bond for the construction of a residential life facility and cited for the record that it will take at least three months to execute the bond. 

Hot Water Loop Progress Report:  Dr. López reported that the hot water loop construction project is still on schedule.  He did mention that the recent cold spree affected the campus and created problems in some buildings, i.e, pipes bursting and loss of heat.  Dr. López praised the great team work by New Mexico Tech personnel in responding to the weather related problems and ensuring the safety of all personnel.

Donation of land by Freeport McMoRan:  Dr. López reported that the property donation documents had been finalized and signed by New Mexico Tech and Freeport McMoRan.  The deed of the gifted property has been registered with the Hidalgo county clerk’s office. 

Sabbatical leave request for Dr. Michelle Creech Eckman: Dr. Gerity announced that Dr. Eckman, Associate Professor in Physics and Research Scientist at MRO, has been granted a one semester sabbatical leave for the Fall of 2011.  Dr. Gerity stated that other faculty will step in and handle whatever courses need to be taught in order to ensure no student’s normal academic progress is impeded.

Legislative Update:  Dr. López, in his legislative briefing, focused on House Bill 2 which is the General Appropriation Act which funds Higher Education.

Thus far, the budget reductions for New Mexico Tech are manageable; however, the briefing only reflects current action of the House Appropriations and Finance Committee but the current proposal is still subject to change.  This measure still requires full House approval, along with Senate action.  Dr. López stated he and his team are monitoring 57 bills which, if most were to be adopted, would negatively impact the university in one way or another.  Tech’s lobbying staff is also responsible for providing analyses of bills to the Legislative Finance Committee.    

PTRC WPS Program:  Dr. López announced that New Mexico Tech, through its EMRTC division, has been awarded a $23.5 million grant by the Department of State.  New Mexico Tech, more specifically, is one of eight awardees who will receive this grant, under sub-contract, over a five year period.  The newcontract calls for security training for world-wide protective services through the State Department.  These services include training of embassy security forces, for example.  The training will take place at the Playas Training and Research Center, a subsidiary of EMRTC. 

Regent Carpenter asked about the sustainability of federal funding for similar future projects. Dr. López and Dr. Romero both responded by explaining how our focus areas and agency relationships should help us maintain a healthy level of funding.  However, in today’s fiscal environment it is difficult to predict how funding will look like in the future.  Dr. Romero added that our federal funding risks are manageable and mentioned that our earmarks are less than 1% of the budget.

Capital Requests:   Dr. López reminded the Board that the General Obligation Bond for capital projects was defeated in the November election.  So any new capital funding has to come from severance tax bonding and this could potentially pay for two small projects: one for Playas road upgrades and the second for $1million in order to purchase and install added campus security and safety equipment.

5. Public Comment:  Regent Daily asked if anyone in the audience wished to address the Board and/or make a public comment on any issue of concern.  Regent Daily recognized Mr. Charles Rosacker whose children have attended New Mexico Tech in the past.  Mr. Rosacker thanked the Board for its hard work and he also complimented President López and the university for the great strides New Mexico Tech has made improving its programs over the years, and he was especially proud that a number of his children have attended and graduated from Tech.  Regent Daily read the names of his children who attended New Mexico Tech.

9. Financial Analysis for January:  Dr. López called on Associate Vice President, Leyla Sedillo, to provide the Board with information regarding the financial status of Tech. Ms. Sedillo stated that the university budgeted conservatively, including budgeting overhead at a minimum.  The report, overall, reflects that the university is staying on a sound financial track and that departments generally are managing to maintain balanced budgets. 

10.   Financial Status as of December 31, 2010 to Higher Education Department: President López presented the FY’11 second quarter expenditure report to the Board and requested formal approval of the report, consistent with the requirements of the Department of Higher Education.  The report, it was noted, is similar to the financial statements generated in the annual independent audit.  Regent Carpenter moved to accept and approve the report.  Regent Armijo seconded the motion and it was unanimously approved.

11. Employee Benefit Trust Audit Results:  Dr. López reported that the audit has been completed and preliminarily it appears that no major audit exceptions have been identified.  A full report on the audit will be presented to the Board as soon as the State Auditor releases the audit.

13. Macey Family Children’s Center Bid:Dr. Lopez explained the history of the bid and award process that resulted in this matter being before the Regents. White Sands Construction Inc., which submitted the apparent second lowest bid for the construction of the Macey Family Childrens’ Center, protested pursuant to the New Mexico Procurement Code, the bid of the apparent low bidder, Fox Builders Inc., whose bid had been accepted by the Regents.  Following its investigation and with the assistance of the Rodey Law Firm, Tech determined that although Fox’s bid was responsive and was the apparent low bid, Fox was not a responsible bidder.  Tech gave Fox and White Sands notice of its determination pursuant to the Procurement Code.  Fox did not file a timely appeal from Tech’s determination.  Mr. Adams recommended that the Regents rescind their previous approval of Fox’s apparent low bid and accept White Sand’s bid.  Regent Carpenter moved to rescind the Regents’ previous approval of Fox’s bid and to accept White Sands’ bid.  Regent Silver seconded the motion and it was unanimously approved.        

14. Architectural Services for New Dormitory:  Dr. López reported on the planning and status for the new dormitory.  After discussion, Dr. López requested approval of the selection for architectural services of the various bidders.  Eleven companies responded to the bid.  The committee, after evaluating all the proposals, recommended Studio D Architects/Hanbury Evans Wright Vlattas.  It is estimated that the fee for their services will be $502,200.00 which is consistent with the rate set by the Architect Rate Schedule of the Procurement Code.  Maximum Allowable Construction Cost is the basis upon which the state calculates the fee for architectural services.  Regent Carpenter moved to approve the selection of Studio D for this service.  Regent Armijo seconded the motion and it was unanimously approved.

15. Request for purchase exceeding $250,000.00 using State Funds: Dr.López provided the Board with a request to purchase two Caterpilar Telehandlers totaling $279,800.00.  This purchase is deemed necessary in order to provide  EMRTC personnel with adequate and safe equipment in order for them to do their work.  Regent Silver moved to approve the purchase.  Regent Armijo seconded the motion and it was unanimously approved. 

16. Individual Board Member Comments:  Regent Silver complimented Dr. López for bringing the Board up to speed on all the issues pertaining to New Mexico Tech. Regent Armijo also thanked Dr. López for all his hard work at the legislative session.  He stated that the university has an effective advocate.  He also wanted to commend all university employees, and particularly the facilities staff, for the way they responded to the recent cold spell that hit Socorro.  He further stated that Socorro had been prepared for the cold weather days in advance, but New Mexico Tech, nonetheless, had a heavy burden in responding to numerous emergencies across the entire campus caused by the extreme cold weather.  He particularly asked that the record reflect the Board’s appreciation and thank, on their behalf,  the lower paid staff who worked tirelessly and without complaint to ensure that all buildings were back in working order and ensure that staff, students and faculty were safe and comfortable during those very frigid days.  He also stated that he hoped staff would be adequately compensated for their extra work.  Dr. López stated he was very proud of his staff and stated that indeed the staff who did work overtime would be paid for their extra work. 

Regent Daily echoed those same sentiments and thanked the New Mexico Tech administration for their swift response to every emergency which surfaced during those difficult days. 

Regent Carpenter recognized Regent Villanueva and thanked him for his service as the university student regent.  He explained that Regent Villanueva, by statute, serves a two year term which expired on December 31, 2010.  Regent Villanueva also thanked the Board as well as Tech’s administration and stated that he had learned a great deal and that his service on the Board had been a very rewarding experience.

18. Employee Benefit Trust:  Dr. López and Associate Vice President Sedillo presented the employee benefit trust report to the Board.  Ms. Sedillo stated that there has been an appreciation on investments; however, the report presented to the Regents did not reflect investment growth.  Regent Carpenter asked if the investments were made at the State Treasurer’s Office and upon whose advice.  Ms. Sedillo responded that she was not exactly sure who provides advice.  She believes, that the university uses Smith Barney advisors for investment decisions, but was not certain.  The Employee Benefit Trust, with no further discussion, adjourned at 3:25pm.

19. Executive Session: Upon reconvening, at 3:26pm, on a unanimous roll call vote, the Board moved and unanimously voted to go into executive session to consider legal matters regarding a potential legal challenge involving the Kirtland lease.  Regent Villanueva recused himself from the executive session due to his employment with Kirtland Airforce Base.  At the completion of the executive session, the Board reconvened in open session.  Regent Daily reported that after discussion of the legal issues surrounding the Kirtland lease in executive session, no action was taken.

20. Adjournment:  Subsequent to the executive session and there being no further business to come before the Board, Regent Daily adjourned the meeting at 3:45 p.m.