Hundreds oppose cuts at Northern New Mexico College

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  • Hundreds oppose program, teacher cuts at Northern New Mexico College

    From left, Northern New Mexico College staff members James Biggs, Patricia Perea, Annette Rodriguez, Crestina Quintana and Gilbert Sena, shown Thursday at the Española school’s Joseph M. Montoya Adminstration Building, say their contracts were not renewed for the 2014-15 school year, and they suspect the decisions were due to retaliation over their complaints about. Clyde Mueller/The New Mexican

Posted: Thursday, May 15, 2014 11:00 pm | Updated: 11:30 am, Fri May 16, 2014.

Hundreds of people have signed a petition urging the state Higher Education Department to reject Northern New Mexico College’s budget for 2014-15 in protest of the school’s decision to cut several popular programs, faculty members and a child care center.

It is the latest sign of unrest at the troubled Española college, which has faced accusations of financial mismanagement and poor leadership during the past few months as it wrangled with budget constraints.

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  • Thomas Alfaro posted at 7:41 pm on Sat, May 17, 2014.

    Thomas Alfaro Posts: 3
  • Thomas Alfaro posted at 7:26 pm on Sat, May 17, 2014.

    Thomas Alfaro Posts: 3

    “This is not a local community issue; this is a State of New Mexico issue. We, the people of New Mexico, are of different races and from different cultures that have developed from deep-rooted histories. The backbone of New Mexico is driven by generations of skilled workforces in Auto Body Repair, Automotive Technology, Construction Trades Management, Technology, and Agricultural Practices.

    “I want to live in a community where my neighbor can be educated in whatever he/she chooses. Not by what an administration dictates, what he/she should learn.”

    "The elimination of critical programs and valuable professors has been that these issues are preventable. This college serves central and northern New Mexico students within diverse age groups. Classes have been traditionally small and this status has not changed for decades. Presently, low enrollment is largely due to ill management decisions, not small classrooms. Many well–educated professors and other dedicated staff remain at NNMC with a vision of opportunity and the desire to make great people excellent professionals. The college is losing this diverse group of leaders, 1 by 1."

    "If management decisions continue on as is, we the people of New Mexico may as well slap a Walmart sign on all of our northern communities and shake our history, roots, and communities goodbye."

    "Leaders of New Mexico and decision makers of NNMC, we challenge you to assist us, the people and backbone of New Mexico's workforce in continuing to offer critical programs and promote the future success of our cultures and generations.”

  • Thomas Alfaro posted at 7:18 pm on Sat, May 17, 2014.

    Thomas Alfaro Posts: 3
  • J.B. Moore posted at 2:28 am on Sat, May 17, 2014.

    JB Moore Posts: 1

    It was good to come together in fellowship today to celebrate our colleagues at the farewell potluck. But it is terribly sad and disturbing to confront the loss of their contributions. A veteran adjunct instructor in Humanities and Social Sciences at Northern, I quickly came to appreciate in the past year that Dr. Patricia Perea and Annette Rodriguez are not only impressive and accomplished scholars, they are extremely talented teachers in the classroom. The latter is evident to me from both the consistent testimony of our shared students and from my having sat in on their classes. I have been looking forward to working further with each of them on continuing development of our bachelor’s program. I counted myself lucky to be scheduled to teach a class together with Annette Rodriguez this coming fall. No more.

    Is it any coincidence that some of the finest teachers, the ones whose instruction and example the students crave, are also the ones who repeatedly stand up and suggest, recommend, insist upon faculty and community input on the course of the college? Maybe those things go together. Maybe what also go together are the pursuit of top-down control—“empire”—and practices of silencing, intimidation, and retaliation.

    These latter practices disclose little to no commitment to the free exchange of ideas, or to the self-determination and empowering of individuals in the career and life-paths of their choice, whether Chicano Studies or Information Engineering or Automotive Technology. So much for education.

  • Guy Stark posted at 9:35 pm on Fri, May 16, 2014.

    Guy Stark Posts: 1

    As a graduate (with honors) from this institution, I am embarrassed and angered by the absolute incompetence of this inept Administration and it's croney Board of Regents! When will the New Mexico State Board of Education or Governor Martinez be willing to step in and hear the will of the people, obviously the current leadership of this institution could careless what the people have to say! This is clearly an elitist attitude being displayed from this group that need to be brought back down to earth!

  • goshkent posted at 8:21 pm on Fri, May 16, 2014.

    goshkent Posts: 1

    By claiming that those non-renewed "had a sense of why and what happened" and had "been made aware of these concerns," Serna is basically admitting that some of these people WERE retaliated against for speaking out -- something he has denied up to now -- because the only thing they had been made aware of was the administration's unhappiness with what they were saying. Their job performances could not be impugned, no matter how hard the administration fished for evidence against them.
    And this of course makes a mockery of the new "anti-bullying" and academic freedom policy changes the administration trotted out this week as a public relations stunt to take attention away from their retaliations. Don't fall for it, readers. Serna's familiar talking point that his critics are "unaccountable" faculty is also an old propaganda ploy: ascribe to your critics the worst qualities that best apply to yourself.

  • Mellis Schmidt posted at 3:39 pm on Fri, May 16, 2014.

    Mellis Posts: 3

    Northern was once a wonderful community college where the community had the opportunity to obtain affordable higher education and trades. I have been a Northern faculty member, Chairperson and my last two years as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. This is the third year in a row for these kind of cuts and firings with no explanation. This is the administration fourth year and they still blame prior administration which can only show their incompetence.
    The quote from Ricky Serna that people knew is just not true in many cases. I know for a fact that some people were surprised by the letter that they would no longer be hired. Last year the administrative assistant for Humanities and Social Sciences which I supervised was given that letter without my knowledge or her direct supervisor's knowledge. Letters were sent to the Board of Regents and Administration asking for an explanation with no response.
    It is true that some people knew these letters were coming because they critiqued the administration and everyone knew that they could be fired for speaking out.
    As the Dean I had no real authority and was kept out of the loop many times, especially in the final months of last year.
    There is no excuse that there is NO oversight of the current administration and Board of Regents and the students have no recourse. This is about the students of NNMC and the inability of anyone to stop this continuous destruction of Northern New Mexico College.

  • Hector Diego posted at 1:24 pm on Fri, May 16, 2014.

    TheInternet Posts: 1

    The type of people that get bullied at northern are stellar teachers with kind hearts and the best intentions for their students and fellow faculty. Typically, they have much higher levels of education and this infuriates the nitwits of the northern administration who have less education, less people skills and have generally gone through most their lives being disliked. This makes them spiteful. They take out their anger in tantrums and fits on those who befuddle them with all their fancy smart-person learnins and levity. It is an ugly thing when mean spirited bullies get into a position of power. Their carnal urges cause them to lash out on a world that has hurt them. This can do great damage to the lives of the innocent bystanders who accidentally wandered into their line of fire. But the worst is their lying. Every falsehood becomes a truth to those that must defend this kind of behavior. Trust nothing NNMC officials say, not Serna, Sena, Padilla, Barcelo, none of them. They're all in on their conspiracy together.

  • Jeff E Green posted at 10:31 am on Fri, May 16, 2014.

    Jeff E Green Posts: 111

    Maybe they'll tear down the buildings and sell the scrap metal! Which is to say, they're running the college like a band of vulture capitalists. Please sign the petition: http://chn.ge/1jkVl7z

  • Julian R. Grace posted at 8:06 am on Fri, May 16, 2014.

    Logies New Mexican Posts: 107

    Pretty soon there won't be any teachers or students or programs. Then the management will just be using state funds to pay themselves for what?

  • Miranda Merklein posted at 3:26 am on Fri, May 16, 2014.

    MirandaMerklein Posts: 1

    Please join us at 11:30 Friday (today) in the cafeteria to say goodbye to all the esteemed faculty fired by administration at Northern in Espanola. Potluck.

  • Jeff E Green posted at 1:24 am on Fri, May 16, 2014.

    Jeff E Green Posts: 111

    I'm from Northern's graduating class of 2013 and I just now signed the petition. I have no confidence in the current NNMC administration's ability to get the college back on track. Please sign if you agree: http://chn.ge/1jkVl7z


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