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NMSU president's future remains unclear

Thursday, September 27, 2012 - 11:10pm

The New Mexico State University Board of Regents Chairman Mike Cheney confirmed Thursday President Dr. Barbara Couture asked to take leave.

Rumors have been running rampant throughout the university since word of her leave became public.

"I typically don't comment on rumors in my business and wouldn't do so on this matter as well," Cheney said.

Cheney said Couture informed the regents she would be taking leave this week.

"I'm not going to scrutinize it too much, but I've heard that it's because of low staff morale because of the conferences with the football team," said Nathan Graff, an undergraduate student at NMSU.

The athletics department has been looking for a conference after the WAC will no longer be an option after this season. 

The football program will be going independent and it's a part of Couture's job to help find the Aggies a new home.  
Students said they have been kept out of the loop on this situation and they university normally does a good job of keeping students informed.

"I've gotten several emails regarding rumors of the nursing program not being accredited," said Kelcie Salazar. "I have not received anything regarding her situation."

University staff hadn't received word either until an email clarifying Provost Wendy Wilkins role while Couture is on leave was sent out to staff on Thursday.

"Provost Wilkins is temporarily assuming the administrative responsibilities of the president in her absence, pursuant to NMSU policy," read the statement.

Cheney said he couldn't comment on the future of Couture, but said they would be discussing personnel matters in a special meeting Monday behind closed doors.

"We got the meeting scheduled and we are going to discuss matters in that meeting as a appropriate," Cheney said.    


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