The New Mexico Military Institute Board of Regents has issued a 30-day notice to its Alumni Association to provide audited financial statements or face banishment from campus — possibly ending a nearly 50-year partnership.
Regent president Stephen Paternoster of Albuquerque cited “failure of the association to maintain an acceptable financial accounting system” and “failure to provide audited financial statements” to NMMI as reasons for the termination of an agreement between the Institute and the association.
“While the regents indicated their disappointment at having to take such action, they said that they had to act in the best interest of NMMI and the state,” said NMMI spokesman Carl Hansen.
The Alumni Association has a month to demonstrate to the Institute an acceptable remedy. If one can’t be found, the association will be required to close its on-campus alumni office.
Alumni Association executive director Jim Lowe, a 1967 NMMI graduate, declined to comment on the decision.
“We are aware of the letter,” Lowe said. “I can’t make a statement on it.”
The Alumni Association was incorporated as a non-profit in 1964. The association, which has an office on campus, promotes NMMI and raises funds from alumni. Some of those funds go to cadet scholarships.
The association provided $81,250 in scholarships, awards and special programs for the benefit of cadets and faculty in the 2010-2011 school year, according to its last statement.
The regents proposed action should not affect student scholarships.
“The scholarships do not belong to the association,” Hansen said.
The school is prepared to establish its own alumni relations office should the regents terminate the agreement.
“We are prudently planning and ready, if need be,” Hansen said.
NMMI Superintendent Jerry Grizzle was directed by the regents to develop a plan for continuing to provide support and information for the thousands of NMMI alumni. The new office would focus on all NMMI alumni and connecting or reconnecting with them with the school, Grizzle said.
An agreement was struck between NMMI Board of Regents and the NMMI Alumni Association last year. Part of that agreement called for the association to maintain an acceptable financial accounting system.
The agreement, required by state statute for non-profit organizations, spells out requirements for the Alumni Association, according to Hansen.
The financial reporting problems have been ongoing for “several months,” Hansen said. The association failed to meet the requirements of the memorandum of agreement, which called for a financial accounting system and audited financial statements and a year-end financial report.
“The system in place has contributed to the failures,” Hansen said.
The agreement with the association will also terminate 60 days from the day the association was given notice. The board voted unanimously, with one abstention, to terminate the agreement at its regular meeting Feb. 21.