Professors. Research assistants. A payroll clerk. Painters. Doctors and nurses. An emergency dispatcher. An assistant dean.
The list of 126 positions New Mexico State University is eliminating — 89 that are currently vacant and 37 that are filled — includes a variety of campus jobs.
The university released the list on Thursday in response to a public records request. It’s the first time the public has been able to see the full list.
And actually, though NMSU Chancellor Garrey Carruthers has said 126 jobs are being eliminated, that isn’t quite right, as the list reveals. One vacant professorship that was shared by two colleges is being cut, but it was counted twice because it was a half-time job in each college. Counting that as the one position it actually was reduces the list of eliminated jobs to 125.
Three vacant facilities technician positions were initially counted as job eliminations, but those positions aren’t being cut. They’re being downgraded. That reduces the list of eliminated jobs to 122.
Carruthers announced earlier this month that the women’s equestrian team would be defunded effective immediately — but he reversed courses the next day and said the university would continue funding the team for one more year. And yet the list of eliminated positions for the 2017 fiscal year — which began July 1 — still includes equestrian head coach Robin Morris-Walters, whose job is continuing for now. It also includes a vacant assistant coaching position that NMSU’s athletics director has said will be filled for the upcoming season.
That reduces the list of eliminated jobs to 120.
Professor Steven Frank, Associate Professor Kurt Wurm and Assistant Professor Ahmed Elaksher, who all teach in the Surveying Engineering program, are on the list of currently filled jobs that will be eliminated this year. Carruthers has proposed eliminating that academic program. But as NMPolitics.net reported Tuesday, the Board of Regents must approve that cut, so the decision is far from final. Whether those jobs will be eliminated isn’t clear.
The list of eliminated positions also includes seven current staffers and two vacant positions at the Campus Health Center. Friday is the last day NMSU will offer on-campus employee health services. Carruthers has said the university is negotiating with a private health company to provide expedited off-campus services for NMSU employees, but no deal has been finalized. As part of negotiations, Carruthers has said those seven employees would be offered jobs by the private company.
In fact, the university has said it anticipates being able to offer other jobs to most of the employees whose positions are being cut, though not all may be at an equivalent level. The process of determining that is underway.
There’s one currently filled position missing from the list of jobs being cut. Nothing in state law allows NMSU to leave that job — and the name of the person who holds it — off the list, but NMPolitics.net agreed to not oppose the decision to withhold that information because of the circumstances.
“There was a medical emergency and there has not yet been an appropriate time to notify this person,” NMSU spokesman Justin Bannister explained. “Once this person is notified, we will release the requested information about the position.”
NMSU is working to address a $12.1 million budget shortfall in the current fiscal year that was caused largely by reductions in state funding and decreased student enrollment. To help balance the budget, the Board of Regents recently approved reductions in some employee benefits. Carruthers and many other high-ranking university employees have taken pay cuts that are expected to save $190,000 a year.
Other cuts and proposed cuts, including those to employee health services, the equestrian team and the Surveying Engineering program, are part of a requirement that all colleges and administrative divisions reduce their budgets by between 5 and 6.2 percent.