Same Fight, Different Regents’ Meeting

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If you’re not from around here, you may not know of all the fuss going on between a certain segment of the community and the administration at Western New Mexico University. For those who do, please bear with my while I provide a little background.

A group of people, led by Earl Montoya of the Southwest Hispanic Roundtable, have been actively pushing for the resignation of John Counts, the WNMU president. This group has been attending board of regents meetings regularly for the past two years, always trying to speak out against Counts, his administration, etc. For the most part, they have had little success, even in addressing the board.

At Friday’s meeting, however, 14 individuals were allowed to speak, being told that they would each have 5 minutes to do so. In my mind this is the work of regent president Tony Trujillo, who is at least trying to bring the parties together for some semblance of civil discourse. The board rarely allows members of the public to speak during the meeting, except for a 15-minute public input section at the end. So, having 14 people approved to be on the agenda is a momentous move forward.

That is, before it all came crashing down.

I am sick and tired of these people attempting to take over the regents’ meeting for their own purposes. I understand and know full well that there are serious problems at the university that merit further examination. But yelling at the board, and disrupting the meeting for the sake of disrupting it, does not further your cause. Members of the media are burned out from writing about the conflict, and you only confirm everything the administration believes about your tactics and character.

Finally, as they say, doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result, is the mark of insanity. What do you hope to accomplish by going to these meetings and attacking the regents? The media in this town will no longer write about it: it’s no longer news that you’re going to be at the meeting trying to plead your case unsuccessfully.

This is a situation that warrants actual conversation; until that happens, neither side will make progress. But, in my mind the regents have made the first step. Though they only meet quarterly, and there time in Silver City is limited, they absolutely should listen to the concerns of the public. They attempted to do so on Friday.

Rather than step up and begin the process of reconciliation, we instead witnessed the same, fruitless effort we’ve seen before. It’s time we moved beyond yelling about the problem toward finding an actual resolution.

Update: I forgot to mention all of the good things that were discussed at the Regents meeting. See the Daily Press article for more info.

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