LCSN: Regents: Beliefs, not politics, spur vote on NMSU president

May 7, 2013. Retrieved online May 8, 2013 from Lindsey Anderson, Las Cruces Sun-News

LAS CRUCES — New Mexico State University regents say politics did not play a role in the vote on former Republican Gov. Garrey Carruthers for the school’s next president, though the 3-2 vote fell along political lines.

Regents Mike Cheney, who also serves as chairman, and Jordan Banegas are Republicans, and Kari Mitchell has contributed to Republican campaigns. The three voted to name Carruthers president.

Regents Javier Gonzales, former chair of the state Democratic Party, and Ike Pino, who has contributed to Democratic campaigns, both preferred finalist Daniel Howard, a dean at the University of Colorado-Denver.

“Ideology never came into play,” Gonzales said. “It really was just down to beliefs by individual regents.”

Board members based their vote on their conscience and on what direction they believe NMSU needs to head, Cheney said.

“We each have our own filter that we see life through and, by nature of that, we’re labeled with a particular political view,” he said. “If each of us on the board has certain views and has a political view attached to us, it doesn’t surprise me that the vote split up that way.”

Cheney and Gonzales both said they weren’t surprised with the final vote. Regents expressed views in earlier deliberations that indicated who they would likely vote for, they said.

The closed-door deliberations were “very passionate,” Banegas said after Monday’s vote. “We really hashed it out.”

Cheney said he doesn’t see the split vote as a weakness.

“I see it as evidence the process was working,” he said.

Both Carruthers and Howard have a long history with NMSU and New Mexico, served as faculty members and deans, know the university’s land-grant mission and said they would be in the president’s office long-term.

Read the Las Cruces Sun-News article

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