Upon her arrival, Barceló cut our Heritage Arts programs. Students were once able to earn Associate of Arts in Fiber Arts and Spanish Colonial Furniture. The courses were taught by master artisans, and many veterans in particular flocked to our furniture courses for their therapeutic value. Barceló’s Administration marginalized and profitized these programs as “continuing education courses” that are not supported as part of our academic, critical knowledge bases. By cutting these Heritage programs from our academic curriculum, Barceló insured that our Heritage Arts do not qualify for state or federal financial aid. Students who depend on financial aid can no longer access our artisanal customs, which are respected nationally and internationally but have been discarded by Barceló’s Administration.
Next Barceló undercut our Spanish-language program—supporting no full-time Spanish instructor or faculty, resulting in our college rarely offering any Spanish class above the Spanish I level.
In our Music Department, Barceló advanced and championed a Music Director who promoted the Jazz/Big Band sound—in itself not objectionable. But Barceló simultaneously marginalized one of our Nuevo Mexico greats, Dr. Cipriano Vigil, who she chose to employ only as an adjunct, meaning his work at Northern has gained him no regular yearly salary, no benefits, no office, and no stability in teaching as his courses are subject to cuts each semester. Dr. Vigil, an El Rito musician and folklorist, is widely regarded as a treasure of Northern New Mexico—nominated three times for the National Heritage Award, receiving the Governor's Award, the Endowment for the Humanities Award, and performing at the Smithsonian several times. Though Dr. Vigil has taught for over 25 years, Barceló has disregarded his well-earned national and international reputation, employing Dr. Vigil only as an adjunct instructor and occasionally requesting his performances—most markedly for her own inauguration. Barceló's devaluing of Dr. Vigil's work and contributions is simply unacceptable.
Further, Northern’s "El Puente" Summer Bridge First Year Experience (FYE) program that was to include instructing first-year students in our cultural agriculture practices this summer featured the FYE staff buying GMO-plant starts at Wal-Mart. The FYE program neglected working with our local Hispano and Native farmers, farmer's markets, co-op, or seed exchange programs, and instead transplanted Wal-Mart GMO starts on the Northern Española campus—these can be seen next to the RTD stop by the Teacher Education Building.
Now we find that this fall Northern has not scheduled ESL classes critical to our Valley and our state (afterall, New Mexico has the only bi-lingual State Constitution in the country!). Barceló’s policies might find support in Texas (where she was born and raised) or in Iowa and Minnesota (where she has spent much of her career). But Barceló’s policies and practices since arriving in the Española Valley make clear that she simply does not share our community values. Under Barceló’s leadership, Northern has more than doubled tuition, cut our Heritage Arts academic programs, cut our Auto Tech, cut our Career Tech (including Construction Trades like Adobe), cut our Radiography (one of our most popular programs leading to high-paying jobs), cut our Child Development Center, has refused to give institutional support to Spanish-language programs and instructors, has refused support for Spanish folklore and music, and has now cancelled ESL and evening GED courses.
Since her arrival, Barceló has released several “diversity” statements, has created and appointed highly paid Diversity Director Patricia Trujillo (this Director, like much of Barceló’s Executive Team, was not hired through an open search), has re-written the College’s mission statement, and has regularly traveled nationwide espousing her commitment to “diversity and equity.” Meanwhile at Northern, Barceló’s Administration has reduced access to low-income, working class students in the Valley by more than doubling tuition; Barceló’s Administration has reduced access to students who are parents by cutting our Child Development Center; has cut Career Training Certificate and AA programs; Barceló’s Administration has marginalized our culture as not worthy of academic study, reducing our fine arts to mere “continuing ed” hobbies; and, Barceló’s Administration has now cut our ESL and evening GED courses. This fall because of Barceló’s practices and policies, Northern has hit an historic low in full-time enrollment.
The fight for social justice that the NNMC Administration flyer (left) refers to has already been seen powerfully on campus as hundreds of students have presented to NNMC Board of Regents meetings and over 750 community members have signed a petition to push back the damaging 2014-2015 Barceló budget that cut student services, instructional programs, career tech programs, childcare, faculty and staff—while increasing Administrative spending and salaries.
It is no wonder that both the faculty and the students voted no confidence in the Barceló Administration this April (see NEWS tab). Northern’s principle mission is “that of serving the educational needs of the people of Northern New Mexico.” It is clear that Nancy “Rusty” Barceló continues to turn her back on this mission and on our Valley. Since taking office in July 2010, President Barceló has received a monthly home allowance (though NNMC's Presidental quarters are located at the NNMC El Rito campus, paid in full with no further cost to tax payers), a monthly car allowance, a monthly phone allowance, full benefits, travel, and over $200,000 per year. In four disastrous academic years, Barceló has received approximately one-million dollars in public funds.
In a paid advertisement, which cost over $2,000, Barceló repeated a usual tactic of suggesting that the continued public concern over the college's decline under her leadership was merely a personal attack. She wrote, "Regardless of how people feel about myself, the current leadership or recent decisions, the college’s reputation is something we all take part in ... Sadly, misinformation and attacks obstruct opportunities to have civil conversations to address these important issues. This ultimately harms our community relationships and our ability to serve students" (9 May 2014, The Rio Grande Sun). Tellingly, in the costly full-color ad paid for with public funds, Barceló neglected to point to any actual instances of misinformation or inaccuracy. The students of NNMC and the greater community await a time when Barceló will be less focused on her personal reputation and instead realize that she is being held accountable for her record, rather than her rhetoric.