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Ousted NMSU chancellor to screen regent candidates

December 30, 2018

Former Gov. Garrey Carruthers is going from an unceremonious ouster as chancellor of New Mexico State University to helping pick members of the very board that gave him the boot.

Gov.-elect Michelle Lujan Grisham tapped Carruthers on Friday to head a team that will recommend regents to lead his alma mater.

On top of all the Cabinet secretaries, the incoming Democratic governor will also get to appoint a slate of regents to run New Mexico’s public colleges and universities.

Each of these boards can be political battlegrounds. Outgoing Republican Gov. Susana Martinez stacked the governing bodies of some schools with close allies. And from refusing to renew Carruthers’ contract at NMSU, where he had proven popular, to scrapping sports programs at UNM, these boards have landed at the center of some of the year’s bigger political controversies.

Several regents were never confirmed by the state Senate, though, meaning Lujan Grisham can install her own picks quickly without waiting for the yearslong terms of regents to expire.

Five members of the University of New Mexico Board of Regents will either see their terms expire at the end of the year or are recess appointments. Three regents at NMSU and at New Mexico Highlands University are in a similar spot.

Lujan Grisham named Carruthers and Veronica Mendez Cruz to an advisory board for New Mexico State University and the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.

The Democrat tapped Roberta Ramo and former House Speaker Raymond G. Sanchez to lead an advisory committee on the University of New Mexico’s Board of Regents.

And she named Carlos Rey Romero and Loyda Martinez to lead a comprehensive advisory committee.

Lujan Grisham’s transition team said each committee will include alumni and will emphasize the prospective diversity of their respective boards.

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