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Luna board seeks to relax nepotism policies

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By Martin Salazar

The Luna Community College Board of Trustees is mulling changes to its nepotism policy that would allow family members of boards members to be hired by the college.

The current Luna policy, adopted on Nov. 17, 2010, is strict, prohibiting the college from hiring in any capacity a person who is related to a current board member, administrator or employee of the college, except in limited circumstances. Any such employees who worked at Luna prior to the policy being adopted were effectively grandfathered in.

The policy defines relative as a member of an individual’s family within the third-degree, to include siblings, parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, spouses, biological parents, children, step-children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces and those who have parented or adopted a child together.  

The nepotism policy was one of several issues the board discussed during a retreat at the main campus on Saturday.

Trustee Ernie Chavez said he want’s a policy instituted that is fair.

Board member David Gutierrez noted that many Luna students “are related to any one of us here.”

“In order to help them get jobs, we need to look at this,” he said.

Gutierrez said having a policy that prevents those students from being hired at Luna isn’t fair and could end up driving them out of Las Vegas and out of northeastern New Mexico. He also noted that the board doesn’t make hiring decisions.

Luna President Pete Campos reminded the board that the college will soon be undergoing the accreditation process. He told the board that the college needs a nepotism policy and that it needs to make sure that it is not eliminating the purpose of the nepotism policy through any changes that are made.

Luna’s policy manual states that the purpose of the nepotism policy is to “prevent the perception of pre-selection or favoritism towards family members through the recruitment process” to “support the College policy of equal employment opportunity for all applicants” and to “prevent the potential for complicated family-related management conflicts.”

Campos assured the board that the college is following the nepotism policy it has in place. He also presented the nepotism policies adopted by Northern New Mexico College in the Española area and the policy that Highlands University has in place for ideas on changes that they could make.

Highlands’ nepotism policy isn’t as stringent as the one in place at Luna. Highlands generally allows the hiring of family members, so long as one isn’t serving in a supervisory capacity over another. Campos noted that exceptions can be made by the president.

Luna Trustee Dan Romero said that in his view, a president should take into consideration what the board wants.

Also at Saturday’s meeting, the board discussed reorganization of the administration, which could include adding another vice president.

The board also listened to a presentation about security on the campus, and several board members criticized the administration, saying they don’t feel the college is prepared for an incident like an active shooter on campus.

“I have taken security very serious at this institution,” Campos countered.