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More light shed on NMSU president's leave of absence

By Vanessa de la Viña, vanessa@kvia.com
Published On: Sep 30 2012 04:15:14 PM CDT
Updated On: Jan 14 2014 06:07:51 PM CST

On the day of her inauguration at NMSU, President Barbara Couture talks about budget cuts and tuition increases

LAS CRUCES, N.M. -

After days of speculation about New Mexico State University's president's future, the board of regents will act on appointment and/or delegation of presidential duties on Monday.

The agenda for NMSU's board of regents meeting scheduled for Oct. 1 lists one other item: approval of agreement with president pursuant to section 13.1 of employment agreement.

The board will hold an open meeting Monday afternoon following a two hour closed session where they will discuss personnel and legal matters.

This follows almost a week of speculation and unanswered questions after president Barbara Couture's abrupt leave of absence.

The university released a brief statement on Wednesday stating, "While president Barbara Couture is on leave, New Mexico State University Policy states that it is the role of the executive vice president and provost to serve as the chief administrative officer. The day-to-day business of NMSU continues under the direction of each unit vice president or college dean."

According to the Las Cruces Sun-News, the university sent employees a memo on Thursday indicating that Couture is taking annual leave, which she "initiated."

A source close to the university told ABC-7 Couture's leave of absence was forced by the board for several reasons, including the failure of NMSU's football program, the loss of accreditation for Doña Ana Community College's nursing program and low faculty morale.

ABC-7 learned from the source there was a lack of confidence in Couture among the NMSU Board of Regents and leading university donors.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. at the Corbett Center Auditorium on campus.

ABC-7 will have a crew inside the meeting on Monday. Look for more details on air and on kvia.com.

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