The Western New Mexico University Board of Regents gave emeritus designation to retiring WNMU Museum Director Dr. Cynthia Ann Bettison and caught up with faculty, staff and student leadership representatives in person during their meeting, which was conducted in a hybrid manner Thursday.
While a small portion of the meeting was spent reviewing and approving financial documents, including a fiscal year 2022 mid-year budget adjustment request and the first quarter financial certification, much of the regents’ time was consumed by listening to informational reports from representatives across campus, including second-term Faculty Senate President Dr. Susan J. McFeaters, who said through her mask that this was the first time she had addressed regents face-to-face ever. Two of the five regents attended in person, while Drs. Lyndon Haviland and Daniel H. Lopez along with Student Regent/Secretary/Treasurer Brenda Hernandez joined virtually from their homes.
After his report, during which he applauded an also retiring Faye McCalmont for growing the WNMU Cultural Affairs Department over the five years she worked for the university, WNMU President Dr. Joseph Shepard asked the board to grant longtime WNMU Museum Director Dr. Cynthia Ann Bettison an emeritus designation, saying, “She has been with us since before the Mimbres were making pottery.”
Dr. Bettison served at the WNMU Museum from 1991 through this fall 2021 semester, growing its collections and bringing context to the anthropologically and culturally significant artifacts, also overseeing the General Obligation Bond funded-transformation of the museum’s home, Fleming Hall.
Regent Chair Dr. Mary Hotvedt, who led the meeting from the WNMU Student Memorial Building Seminar Room, concurred that Dr. Bettison raised the profile of WNMU as a cultural hub and contributed to the fields of archeology and anthropology with her work.
WNMU Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Isaac Brundage presented a change to the student handbook that relates to New Mexico making recreational marijuana legal. “The handbook will now state that marijuana usage, possession, and sale or distribution is still not allowed on campus,” he said.
Guiding members of the board through the budget adjustment request, WNMU Vice President for Business Affairs Kelley Riddle said our revenues are overall increasing, particularly with a $12 million increase in capital outlay. “The most notable net transfer is one of money coming from the restricted fund through the CARES Act. We were able to transfer about $500,000 to our Instruction and General fund. The significant increases in the restricted bar were to carry out grants,” she summarized.
Finally, the regents heard the rationale for and approved the purchase of a property at the corner of 10th and West streets near the university president’s residence. “In our strategic plan,” Dr. Shepard explained, “we have a commitment to try and purchase properties within [predetermined boundaries] when they’re available.”
He noted that the owner of 917 N. West Street has agreed to sell WNMU the just over one quarter acre of land and its existing structures at its appraised value. Dr. Shepard asked the board for authority to take quick action “because of the sensitivities of the market.”
The WNMU Board of Regents will meet next at the Capitol on January 27, following Grant County Day at the state legislature.