University of New Mexico regents voted Monday, March 14, to put themselves in charge of the Health Sciences Center despite public objections to the sudden shift.
On a 4-to-2 vote, UNM’s regents scrapped the existing seven-member Health Sciences board, which included spots for community members and the hospital chairman. They’ve replaced it with a board of three regents.
The Health Sciences Center includes the hospital, medical and nursing schools, and the cancer center.
Lorie MacIver is district president of the hospital workers union and a nurse at UNMH. She said before the issue showed up on the regents’ meeting agenda Friday, she had never heard this huge change was coming down the pipe, and the short notice didn’t leave staffers time to juggle shifts so they could attend the meeting. "Why was it so necessary to ram it through today?" she asked. "Somebody suggested a six-month wait. Why couldn’t they have done that?"
MacIver said the takeover will affect workers, and their input should have been considered. "There’s no transparency here," she said. "It’s about as transparent as a brick wall." She added that she’s concerned about what partners will think of the regents’ disregard for the community and the sudden maneuvering. MacIver said the move raises a lot of questions that the union will have to consider.
One regent told the Albuquerque Journal that the quick change was necessary given looming financial issues.