Correcting an impression

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By The Staff

Dear Editor,

The UNM Los Alamos Advisory Board, administration, faculty, staff and students thank you for acknowledging the spirit of cooperation among the institutions of Los Alamos and the valued asset that UNM Los Alamos continues to be in this community. However, we need to correct a false impression you conveyed in your editorial May 15.

Contrary to what you implied, the UNM Los Alamos campus is fiscally autonomous from the Albuquerque campus. UNM operates under the Branch Campus Act and the Operating Agreement which define the fiscal relationship between the Albuquerque campus and this branch campus.

While the fiscal condition of the Albuquerque campus is well known and its revenue substantial, the UNM Los Alamos branch must operate with revenues from five sources:

(1) state legislative appropriations (based on enrollment), which provide the majority of our funding; (2) property taxes paid by residents of Los Alamos county under the local mil levy; (3) tuition and fees paid by the students; (4) contracts and grants; and (5) auxiliary services (student housing and bookstore).

These revenues are the only funds the UNM Los Alamos campus has available to it to meet its expenses for our instructional departments, academic support, student services, institutional support, and operations and maintenance.

Even though UNM Albuquerque has a substantially larger budget and substantial avenues of financial resources, the Operating Agreement does not permit transfers of funds between the Albuquerque and Los Alamos campuses. Our enrollment has recently begun to grow again. However, several years of declining enrollment have already taken a toll on our sources of revenue.

Our campus is struggling to cope with the decreased budget, as the staff shoulders larger responsibilities while vacant positions go unfilled. In this environment the county council’s help is greatly appreciated.

We at UNM Los Alamos are committed to continue our quality of services to our students and to be a strong and valued asset to this community. We are grateful to the Los Alamos county council and taxpayers for supporting the projects and programs that are critical to this campus fulfilling its mission and goals.

Marie Chiravalle, chair

for the UNM Los Alamos Advisory Board