Regional
3:21 pm
Sun September 30, 2012

Couture Resigns With $453,000 Settlement; NMSU Searching For Interim President

New Mexico State University President Dr. Barbara Couture has left the university in a "mutually agreeable" separation. 

Couture is taking a position with the Association of Public Land Grant Universities, where she will be a senior advisor.

"All those in favor signify by saying I. Any opposed? Motion carries."

And with that, New Mexico State University and Dr. Barbara Couture parted ways.

Specific reasons for the departure weren't given, but regent Javier Gonzales hinted at them.

"We've seen falling enrollment, decline in our research dollars, unreliable and inconsistent state funding, an athletic program that's in danger of finding itself with no conference to play in, a nursing school that just lost its accreditation and much more."

The chair of the board says he won't give details for confidentiality reasons.

"Is that a conversation you'd like to have in public or is it something in private?" And to be honest with you, we're obligated under those personnel polices to respect that confidentiality."

Now, the search for an interim begins. NMSU set a two-week deadline.

"We've put an aggressive timeline on ourselves and our hope is that we can select an interim president to govern the university while we search for a permanent president.

The school's president is taking a new position as an advisor at the Association of Public Land Grant Universities.

The settlement agreement shows the university will pay Couture $453,092 by January 2013 in addition to annual and sick leave.

Her annual salary was $385,000 with a $500,000 bonus to be paid after 5 years, which would have been on December 31, 2014.

Sloan Patton reported.