Carlsbad’s City Council votes unanimously in support of Carlsbad’s college working toward independence

There’s been a lot of progress in the effort to transform NMSU-C to an independent college in Carlsbad. On Tuesday night, Carlsbad’s City Council voted unanimously in support of Carlsbad’s college working toward independence. Craig Stephens, the chair of our higher education task force, did an excellent job updating members of council. We also appreciate remarks made by Jay Jenkins, president of Carlsbad National Bank, recommending independence and the reasons for it. We believe independence would provide more opportunity for Carlsbad’s students, faculty and staff, and we appreciate all of the ongoing support. 

Even though other colleges have gone independent in New Mexico, it isn’t a process that happens every year, so the task force is working closely with the HED to understand specifics, such as how an election for a board of regents would need to take place in the future.

  • Rep. Cathrynn Brown is in the process of having the final bill introduced to the legislative session. Our other legislators in the area have already promised to support her bill, which would make the college in Carlsbad independent.
  • A poll of task force members, as well as college faculty and staff, concluded that Southeast New Mexico College is the preferred name for the campus.
  • John Heaton met with Rotary (in a virtual meeting) last week and answered numerous great questions about the college. He is meeting with the local chapter of the NAACP this week. We are also now on Twitter https://twitter.com/carlsbadcollege and welcome all opportunities to answer questions about this effort.
  • The NMSU Board of Regents also met earlier this month and discussed the local interest in the college becoming independent. The regents passed a resolution to hire a consultant to review the issues associated with independence. It is important to note that our conversations with NMSU have always been cordial. Chancellor Arvizu and Ken Van Winkle have pledged to fully cooperate with what the community decides to do.
  • We want to make it clear that our interest in becoming an independent college is not just because NMSU decided to eliminate a president position here. Over the past few decades, it has been very difficult for Carlsbad faculty and staff to access resources from Las Cruces. We would be able to solve problems here, with a local board of regents. Funds intended to go to this college would be directed to this college.
  • Our task force members have heard concerns from some that going independent might hurt our excellent nursing program here. It is their belief that by being independent we would be able to attract additional nursing instructors by offering competitive salaries. The nursing program is a high priority here, and our focus will always be to expand on offerings and offer better access.

Thanks again to John Heaton, Craig Stephens and the members of this task force who have been working so hard on this effort.

From the office of Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway

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