A western college sacrifices the queen

Northern New Mexico CollegeNorthern New Mexico College (NNMC) has made serious cuts to staff, faculty, and programs.  It seems like another queen sacrifice, the strategy whereby a campus cuts previously well-regarded programs and faculty for financial reasons.

I wrote “seems” because there isn’t a lot of coverage, beyond local media.  Here’s the best I can do, and I hope people write in so we can develop a better account.

To begin with, the NNMC governing board has cut several programs. Automotive technology, construction technology, and radiography, according to one source.   “[W]holesale elimination of programs and personnel”, says another, who also adds: “Northern’s president and Board of Regents have taken the approach of eliminating longstanding programs, staff and faculty as quickly and ruthlessly as possible”.

The board chose these programs for their low numbers:

College leaders contend the departments being cut suffer from poor enrollment and low graduation rates. Based on a report that Vice President of Finance and Administration Domingo Sanchez gave to the regents Saturday, both the automotive technology and auto body repair classes had an average enrollment of about 14 students per semester and only two or three graduates per year from 2011 to 2013. The construction trades department reported even smaller numbers…

The current president confirms this, adding that he might shift one program to an adult education version.

Five professors were laid off as part of these cuts, according to this story.  Seven, as per this petition and this article.  One was the president of the faculty senate, according to this faculty-authored opinion piece. That’s out of 57 full-time faculty, according to the college’s documentation (pdf). In addition, nine staff are being laid off. (source)

Enrollment has “plummeted”, and funds are lacking. (source) (source)

This is also fairly typical of the queen sacrifice pattern, although the emphasis on career technology rather than humanities departments is noteworthy.

In addition, this queen sacrifice involves several other controversial aspects.

First, the administration is apparently promulgating a “Respectful Campus” policy.  I can’t find a copy, but FIRE has already deemed it clearly unconstitutional, since NMMC is a public institution.

Second, there are charges that NNMC is skewing resources unfairly towards its upper administration, while cutting the rest unjustly.  From the above-linked petition:

Please be reminded that Northern’s Administration has overspent its budget for five consecutive years.  The increase in Administrative expenditures—including raises for Administrative salaries and the addition of several new Administrative employees—has resulted directly in cuts to courses for students, has resulted directly in cuts to instructors, has resulted directly in cuts to student services, and, if allowed, will result in cuts to our Childcare Center and our critical Career Tech Programs.

Third, there are also charges that cuts and layoffs are not just financial in nature, but also retaliations for criticism.  Board members deny this, but there was one wild board meeting which involved calling the police.

As an outsider just starting to learn about these events, I hesitate to draw conclusions at this time.  It does seem like another queen sacrifice case, which I’ll follow.

Please comment with more information and analysis.

 (thanks to Vanessa Vaile for the pointer) (thanks to Stephen Landry for more data)

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5 Responses to A western college sacrifices the queen

  1. Pingback: A Hawaii university sacrifices the queen | Bryan Alexander

  2. mazzella mccall says:

    Please go to twitter WeAreNNMC
    And go to the change.org link and sign the petition to help stop the madness at NNMC.
    By the way, most of the humanities dept had been non re hired ( fired) because of voting no confidence in the Administration. There is blatant retaliation going on every day! It’s sickening what the Administration is getting away with. PLEASE sign that petition!!!!

  3. Do you have any video of that? I’d like to find out some additional
    information.

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