Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

By Ron Warnick
QCS Senior Writer 

Mesalands' board of trustees approves policy change on firearms


December 29, 2021

The Mesalands Community College board of trustees last week approved a revision to a policy that would allow firearms on campus if the college president permits them.

Mesalands President Gregg Busch said during the board’s regular Dec. 21 meeting the current policy restricted the carrying of firearms to law-enforcement personnel and law-enforcement students.

Busch said he wanted the college’s new security chief, former New Mexico state police officer Chester Bobbitt, to be allowed to carry a firearm.

Busch noted current New Mexico law allows a college president to authorize people on campus to carry weapons.

Mesalands does not have a police force.

The revised policy initially states: “Person possessing firearms, ammunition, explosives, or edged weapons are prohibited from carrying, conveying or storing such materials on or in College properties and function.”

A new section of the policy states: “The exceptions to this policy are for law enforcement officers authorized by state law to carry firearms, materials authorized by the President for instructional purposes, and other individuals permissible under state law and authorized by the President.”

Board member Tom Sidwell asked whether concealed carry permits would be allowable. Busch said the state allows them as along as the college president permits them.

In other business:

• The board authorized Natalie Gillard, vice president of academic affairs, to pursue a contract with ADP as the college’s payroll service.

The other bidders were PayDay and Paycom. ADP was one of the low bidders, Gillard said, and it provided more detail on its services.

She said a third-party vendor for payroll would free more time for an employee to take care of other duties in the business office.

Board Chairman Jim Streetman said he wanted more clarity on the actual cost before approving a final contract. Gillard said the college’s payroll department deals with 88 employees. Streetman estimated there were closer to 140.

• Busch announced Maria Haase, a former faculty member at Mesalands, would become the college’s director of Hispanic outreach.

• Gillard said Mesalands’ recently amended intergovernmental agreement would offer post-secondary education services to inmates in virtually all of New Mexico’s prisons, boosting the college’s revenue.

• Busch stated in his monthly report that he, Workforce Development and the renewable energy team met with Bob Hockaday and David White to discuss how the college can support training and programming as they venture into new forms of renewable energy and customized fertilizer.

“This would expand the Center of Innovation for Renewable Energy to five forms of renewable energy being researched and instructed at one institution,” Busch wrote. “We know of no other institution in the U.S. that has such an expansive program, and it promises to be a major boost to the success and economy of the ranching industry in the region.”

• Busch said he was named to an advisory committee on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to study Hispanic student success in higher education. Busch said he would receive a small stipend to attend three meetings.

• The board approved a purchase requisition of $20,000 to CliftonLarsonAllen LLP of Minneapolis for audit services.

• The board went into a closed, 2 1/2-hour executive session to discuss litigation, personnel matters and possible real-estate transactions. No action was taken when open session resumed.


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