The NMSU board unanimously approved Dr. Manuel Pacheco as interim president Wednesday after Dr. Barbara Couture left the university last week.
A familiar face on campus, Dr. Pacheco was NMSU’s interim president in 2009.
As interim, Pacheco is limited to one year and a salary that can’t exceed $360,000 dollars.
With the interim president officially appointed, several issues came up. Among them was what shade of maroon the school’s color really is.
“…so that when we bleed, we may all bleed the same color.”
The past performance of Dr. Barbara Couture inevitably came up.
“The university has lost a little bit of focus and what’s at the core. Maybe we’ve tried doing too many things and we need to get back to focusing on what we know best and what’s at the heart and soul of this great university.”
“We’ve all in the livestock industry and the agriculture industry have felt a drift away from the fundamental land grant mission of this university of agriculture and engineering,” said Joe Delk of the NM Cattlegrowers Association.
Many in the community shared the concern of a lack of information -- like history professor Jamie Bronstein--
“But as a faculty member and even as a member of the faculty senate, we learned about the change in leadership not from within but from the news media,” said Bronstein.
NMSU alum Ammu Devestalhi says she should have known sooner.
“We live in a culture of 24 hours news cycle and instant messaging. We have Facebook and Twitter and blogs and everything else and I like most of our audience here feel that I need to know everything about everything the minute it happens.”
Dr. Tim Ketelaar, a board member who represents faculty, says professors didn’t have as much input as he’d hoped.
“We feel that we should be serving in an advise-and-consult fashion and we haven’t been asked to do that and we’d simply like to be asked to do that.”
Ketelaar says the faculty senate was not invited to a Wednesday morning closed meeting.
“On Saturday, October 6, the senate chair…requested to attend the closed session scheduled for this morning at 9am. On Monday morning October 8, the chair of the board of regents informed the senate chair that our request had been denied. I believe the faculty and senate as a whole shares my disappointment.”
The board also wanted to appeal to the public who it hopes will buy general obligation bonds. The bonds could raise money for - among other things -upgraded facilities.
“My understanding of Bond C is that it would not raise taxes one penny, but it would certainly raise the spirits of the 60 students in my class and it would also probably raise the temperature as the heating system could use room for improvement as well.”
“We need to make sure that we provide the right kind of information that our citizenry needs to be able to pass the general obligation fund that is facing the state of New Mexico that’s extremely important for our students.”
What role will Dr. Pacheco have in picking a new president?
“The board and I have not talked about that. If it’s like the last time, I will help with the identification of possible candidates.”