The New Mexico Student on Board of Regents, Amendment 2 is on the November 4, 2014 ballot in New Mexico as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment. The measure, upon voter approval, would add Northern New Mexico College (NNMC) to the list of state educational institutions that are required to have a member of the student body on the board of regents.
If the amendment is approved, the next vacant position on NNMC's board of regents would be filled by a NNMC student. The student would be selected by NNMC's president and appointed by the governor to serve a two-year term. The NNMC president would be required to give "due consideration" to the recommendations of the school's student body president.
The proposed amendment was sponsored in the New Mexico Legislature by Sen. Richard Martinez (D-5) as Senate Joint Resolution 7.
Text of measure
The official ballot text reads as follows:
||4. A Joint Resolution proposing to amend Article 12, Section 13 of the Constitution of New Mexico to change the board of regents of Northern New Mexico State School by filling one regent position with a student.
For ____________ Against ____________
- See also: Article XII, New Mexico Constitution
The measure amends Section 13 of Article XII of the Constitution of New Mexico.
The amendment’s full text can be read here.
The New Mexico Legislative Council Service provided arguments for and against the constitutional amendment. The following are the council's arguments in support:
1. Consistency among institutional boards.
The boards of regents of all state educational institutions that grant four-year degrees, including NNMC, should include a student regent. When the constitution was amended in 1994 to create a student regent position at certain institutions, each of those institutions offered four-year degree programs. NNMC did not offer a four-year degree program until 2004. Since that time, the academic programs offered by NNMC have grown to include numerous bachelor's degrees in several areas of study. The academic and administrative structure of NNMC is analogous to those of the other six institutions that grant four-year degrees, and NNMC's board of regents should be structured similarly to include a student regent. The passage of this amendment would appropriately align the board membership of all four-year degree-granting institutions.
2. No conflict with current practice.
NNMC already embraces the concept of student involvement in the institution's governance. The NNMC board of regents currently includes two student regents who serve in an advisory capacity, which reveals the value placed by the college on the student body's voice. This amendment would simply extend the role of "student regent" at NNMC to allow for one student-regent vote on matters considered and decided by the board.
3. Equal representation.
The students at NNMC should have a vote on matters that affect their education and professional development; their voice on the board of regents is essential to ensuring that NNMC serves their interests and reflects their needs. Because students at NNMC are pursuing academic programs and four-year degrees in preparation for their careers, the decisions of NNMC's board of regents affect not only the students' education, but also their professional development. For these reasons, the NNMC board of regents should include a seat for a student regent to allow a student representative the opportunity to vote on issues that significantly affect the student body.
4. Unique perspective.
A student regent would provide the perspective of someone who is actually attending the college, is in touch with the issues and concerns of students and has insight into the demands and challenges of the college's courses and faculty.
—New Mexico Legislative Council Service
The New Mexico Legislative Council Service provided arguments for and against the constitutional amendment. The following are the council's arguments against:
1. Duplicative and possibly conflicting representation.
￼Reserving a seat on the NNMC board of regents for a student member is unnecessary. NNMC's student body is already adequately represented through advisory student regents and through the Associated Students of Northern New Mexico College (ASNNMC), which is a body of representatives elected by the students that has widespread and diverse representation and that most accurately represents the student body on issues such as college administration and student activities. The members of the ASNNMC are accountable to their constituents and must represent their constituents' interests. This amendment would provide for an additional student representative who is appointed rather than elected by students. Because the student regent would be appointed by the governor, the student might not be independent and able to provide independent and nonpartisan representation.
Students are not the only group affected by the decisions made by the NNMC board of regents. This amendment would provide for a designated student regent on the board; however, NNMC staff, professors and students are all affected by the board's decisions. If this amendment is approved, the voice of students will be unfairly represented on the board of regents, which should include representatives of all groups that are affected by the board's decisions.
3. Inexperience and insufficient qualifications.
Boards of regents are called upon to make decisions on highly complex matters relating to an institution's administration, finance, curriculum and mission. A student regent might be too inexperienced or lack the qualifications to successfully fill the role of a board member.
4. Unnecessary and unwarranted change.
Changing the state's constitution should not be undertaken in the absence of compelling reasons. Requiring one member of a five-member board of regents to be a student will not materially impact the decision-making of the board as a whole, particularly when NNMC already has two student regents who serve as advisors to the board. As currently written, the constitution does not prohibit a student who is a qualified elector from serving on the board of regents, so there is no compelling reason to amend the constitution.
5. Inequality among state institutions.
The amendment is too limited in that it does not include all of the state institutions established by Article 12. If the amendment is approved, the New Mexico School for the Deaf, the New Mexico Military Institute and the New Mexico School for the Blind and Visually Impaired would remain outside of the student-regent requirement. Failing to include all of these institutions results in inequality among student bodies.
—New Mexico Legislative Council Service
Path to the ballot
- See also: Amending the New Mexico Constitution
According to Article XIX of the New Mexico Constitution, a simple majority was required in the legislature to refer the amendment to the ballot. SJR 7 was approved in the New Mexico Senate on March 4, 2013. The amendment was approved in the New Mexico House on March 16, 2013.
March 4, 2013 Senate vote
| New Mexico SJR 7 Senate Vote|
| Yes|| 40|| 100.00%|
March 16, 2013 House vote
| New Mexico SJR 7 House Vote|
| Yes|| 66|| 97.06%|
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 New Mexico Legislative Council Service, "Summary of and Arguments For and Against the Constitutional Amendments Proposed by the Legislature in 2013 and 2014," accessed September 11, 2014
- ↑ New Mexico Legislature, "Status of SJR 7: Northern NM State School Regents, CA," accessed April 3, 2014
- ↑ New Mexico Secretary of State, "Constitutional Amendments," accessed April 3, 2014
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- ↑ New Mexico Legislature, "SJR Final Senate Passage," accessed April 3, 2014
- ↑ New Mexico Legislature, "SJR 7 Final House Passage," accessed April 3, 2014