Change in University Regent Selection Process Heads to the House Floor


  • Constitutional Amendment Would Allow Voters to Establish Nominating Committees to Recommend Candidates

SANTA FE—New Mexicans are one step closer to deciding how regents of New Mexico’s state universities are picked. House Joint Resolution (HJR) 7, sponsored by Rep. Jeff Steinborn, D-35, is headed to the floor of the House after getting a Do Pass in the House Voters and Elections Committee. HJR 7 would create a constitutional amendment allowing voters to establish nominating committees to recommend qualified regent candidates to the Governor for consideration.

Currently, regents are not required to have any set qualifications. 

“I’m glad that my proposal to establish regent nominating commissions is headed to a House vote,” Steinborn said. “With all the challenges we face as a state to educate our children and create good jobs, it’s critical that we adopt this common sense proposal to pick our best and most experienced educators to help run our universities. By setting up nominating committees to recommend university qualified regents, we would be adopting the same approach to picking university leaders that any employer in America takes to pick the best qualified employees to hire.”

The resolution calls for the creation of bipartisan nominating committees that would recommend to the governor the best candidates interested in serving as a regent. Under new language in the resolution, the committees would also include members of the faculty, student body and community where the educational institution resides. 

There would be committees set up for each of the schools included in Article 12 of the New Mexico constitution, which includes University of New Mexico, New Mexico State University, New Mexico Tech, Western New Mexico University, Eastern New Mexico University, New Mexico Highlands University, New Mexico Military Institute, the School for the Deaf and the School for the Blind.

If the resolution passes the legislature, it would go on the general election ballot in November, giving voters the choice of establishing the regent nominating committees.