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New Mexico Highlands University Faculty and Staff Association and New Mexico Highlands University Faculty Senate Urge New Mexico Highlands University to Respect Faculty Tenure Process and Collective Bargaining Agreement

NMHU Faculty Senate Takes Vote of No Confidence in Board of Regents

May 5, 2023

Las Vegas – New Mexico Highlands University Faculty and Staff Association (NMHUFASA) President Dr. Kathy Jenkins and New Mexico Highlands University (NMHU) Faculty Senate President Dr. Rod Rock released the following statements:

Members of the New Mexico Highlands University Faculty Senate and NMHUFASA have taken a vote of no confidence in the NMHU Board of Regents due to their lack of enforcement and respect in the areas of faculty tenure, worker rights, and seeming indifference to the erosion of academic rights and norms throughout our university’s departmental and organizational structures.

"The Board of Regents has not upheld their duties to protect the integrity of the institution by following policies and procedures; they are not acting in accordance with shared governance agreements. The Board of Regents has deferred their responsibilities to administration, thus jeopardizing the university's accreditation status, which is of great concern to the faculty. The faculty have on several occasions voiced our concerns to the Board of Regents, and they have continued to allow the administration to avoid, delay, or circumvent their responsibilities. All of this is detrimental to the overall well-being of this public institution, thus leading the faculty to lose confidence in the Board's ability to fulfill their collective obligations," said Rock.

“Hiring outside of mutually-agreed-upon processes and undercutting the faculty handbook and collective bargaining agreement is a hallmark of union-busting and cannot stand. NMHU’s decision to award academic tenure without oversight, job descriptions, evaluative processes, and at an exorbitantly higher salary than other faculty members, is a chilling precedent for New Mexico’s higher education institutions. We demand a return to shared governance and respect for NMHU’s negotiated processes concerning faculty tenure, organization, and structures. Until then, the Faculty at NMHU, including that of the Faculty Senate, its subcommittees, and NMHUFASA do not recognize any position or academic rights therein created unilaterally and external to the existing processes for hiring and granting of tenure.

“We call on Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and Secretary of Higher Education Rodriguez to demand the NMHU Board of Regents and Administration cease all activity which bypasses the established faculty handbook and collective bargaining agreement,” said Jenkins.

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