*Data provided by Northern New Mexico College Registrar Kathleen Sena to NNMC Board of Regents (7/28/2014). If there looks to be student growth on the graph above provided by Registrar Kathleen Sena, our dear reader should note this graph shows a one-month period. A meaningful graph showing a one year period (below) demonstrates the accurate and precipitous drop in enrollment thus:
Northern Administrators reported enrollment of 1,633 for fall 2013 according to the IPEDS National Center for Education Statistics (Integrated Post secondary Education Data System), which is searchable at: http://nces.ed.gov/globallocator/ The NNMC Study Group believes a more accurate enrollment figure for fall 2013 to be 1,000.
The Northern Study Group believes it is appropriate and important to host the open letter to "Colleagues, Community Members, Family and Friends" by Dr. Patricia Perea. We believe the issues raised by Dr. Perea are of wide concern and demonstrate NNMC President Barceló's disinterest in dialogue and the unilateral decision-making that has often found her at odds with the larger community. Further, it is always powerful to take inventory on how we each act--or fail to act--on our convictions.
Concerns with the 2014 MALCS Summer Institute may be directed to President Barceló: firstname.lastname@example.org MALCS Leadership: email@example.com or the author of this letter Dr. Patricia Perea: firstname.lastname@example.org The NNMC Study Group also invites any responses from NNMC President Barceló and/or MALCS leadership/members: email@example.com
Media commentary of Dr. Perea's courageous stance against MALCS sponsorship by war profiteers includes Houston's public radio station KPFT. A discussion of environmental racism and this year's MALCS Summer Institute was hosted by "Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say" 8/5/14. Listen to the full discussion on itunes [Dr. Perea begins at 29:00]. In addition, Albuquerque, New Mexico's "Daily Loco" has covered the MALCS controversy. Both links below. Please share widely.
Click below to download full letter on PDF.
On July 15th, the New Mexico Board of Finance met, with two items on their agenda, which are critical to Northern New Mexico College and Española Valley/ New Mexico taxpayers.
NNMC Administration and Board Members requested a $16M “Systems Improvement” Revenue Bond to, at long last, begin their feverishly pursued Student Housing Construction Project.
Demonstrating a level of transparency unknown to NNMC’s Board of Regents, the New Mexico Board of Finance makes video and audio of every meeting available online. You may access the July 15th meeting in full at http://governor-nm.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=1557 (Northern New Mexico College’s presentation is the last of the day and begins at 5:37 and continues until the meeting adjourns at 6:21. All quotes from the meeting in time brackets.)
The members of the NM Board of Finance firmly questioned NNMC President Nancy “Rusty” Barceló, Vice-President for Institutional Advancement Ricky Serna, Vice-President for Finance and Administration Domingo Sanchez, and the President of Monument Construction Timothy R. Pitcher.[i] Pitcher’s company is located in Indianapolis, Indiana, so the NNMC Study Group hopes that Mr. Pitcher had other business in Northern New Mexico—maybe golf—that can justify his unsuccessful trip to win approval of public bonds to construct dormitories for NNMC. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves…
The New Mexico Board of Finance refused to vote to pass the requested revenue bond for the student housing construction project. In the last few awkward, uncomfortable minutes of the meeting, not a single member of the Board of Finance would put forward a motion to vote on the NNMC requested bonds and construction [6:19-6:21]. Because no member of the Board would put forth a motion to approve the bonds, the ill-conceived, no-bid project was finally defeated. Or at least shelved, deferred, tabled… indefinitely.
In denying the schemes of NNMC President Barceló and her Board of Regents, the New Mexico Board of Finance scored a win for current NNMC students, who have seen their tuition increase by more than double in three years as programs, services, instruction and faculty have been cut. The New Mexico Board of Finance also scored a win for New Mexico taxpayers, who have watched as Northern New Mexico College has squandered our hard-earned money while President Barceló and her Executive Team, including Vice-President for Institutional Advancement Ricky Serna and Vice-President for Finance and Administration Domingo Sanchez have sent our college into a steady decline.
We might imagine the deep embarrassment—even humiliation—that must be felt by Barceló et. al. after years of confident and premature announcements of their new dorms on campus: “Northern New Mexico College will open its first residence hall on the Española campus in Fall 2015,” boasts the College website.[ii] Indeed, NNMC Men’s Basketball Coach and Athletic Director Ryan Cordova has been recruiting student athletes to Northern assuring full on-campus accommodations. Will those students and their families receive an apology for NNMC’s disingenuous promises?
How were the NNMC Administrators and NNMC Board of Regents able to so confidently—if ineffectually—argue their case to the New Mexico Board of Finance?
At the May 22, 2014 NNMC Board of Regents Meeting, NNMC Board Members Michael Branch (owner, Branch Realty, Santa Fe), Kevin Powers (retired, investment banking, Albuquerque), Alfred Herrera (retired, New Mexico Public Education Department, Española) and Rosario “Chayo” Garcia (agent, New York Life Insurance Company, Española) voted unanimously to allow Paul Cassidy of RBC Capital Markets and Peter L. Franklin of Santa Fe’s Modrall, Sperling, Roehl, Harris & Sisk, P.A. Law Firm—to act as agents of NNMC—pursuing funding for the multimillion dollar, no-bid dorm project.[iii] The NNMC Board of Regents approved this though Franklin explained that this funding strategy "describes the security for the bonds” as “basically the College's system’s revenues, basically all the revenue that the college earns or takes in.” [iv]
When Board Secretary Herrera, asked if this meant Northern was pledging the dorms themselves and the dorm revenue as security (aka collateral) Peter Franklin clarified that the guarantee of the debt was not a guarantee using the project itself, but instead the NNMC Board of Regents was seeking to pledge
[E]ssentially all the College’s assets. All the College’s revenues and assets.
This is not a project revenue financing where all you’re pledging is the
revenue generated by the student housing. Um… would be nice if it could
be that, but… I… the problem is it won’t… Well, I shouldn’t get into that…”
When pressed further by Regent Branch on guaranteeing the debt incurred by building the dorms, attorney Franklin responded, “All I guarantee is that… I got out of bed this morning and here I am.”
Paul Cassidy explained that the tax-exempt bonds would be “a fixed-rate debt that can’t be refinanced for ten years.” Thus, the terms the current NNMC Board Members vote for would be set in stone for at least a decade. No matter, let’s not worry about the details! Cassidy continued assuring the Board Members, “I think the keys, though, to the project are getting State Board of Finance approval. Once you have State Board of Finance Approval and NMFA Board approval on the loan, your consultants on the construction side can get started.”
But when the New Mexico Board of Finance met this week they not only did not approve the project, they strongly questioned the proposal. Issues included:
Further, the New Mexico Board of Finance was clearly disturbed by the $978,000 in fees charged by Monument Construction for “student housing study,” “student housing survey,” “financial analysis,” and “market analysis” [6:06-6:08]. Yes, close to one-million dollars in fees to—as a member of the New Mexico Board of Finance put it—“[do] the study to show need for housing… and you’ll build it?” [6:09]. Yes, NNMC’s Administration agreed to pay just under one-million dollars of our taxes to Monument Construction, which studied the need for the student housing they would be building.
Followers of NNMC may recall that this April, President Barceló’s Administration insisted on cutting three programs , 7-10 full-time staff and instructors (tenured professors among them), and eliminating our Child Development Center to make up a $250,000 shortfall in their budget. The cuts to student instruction, faculty, staff and child care equal approximately one-quarter of the fees paid to Monument to study the needs for its own services. President Barceló released a paid advertisement that read in part “Considering the closure of any program is a difficult and unfortunate task, but one that is sometimes necessary in order to preserve our College.” [v] Meanwhile, her administration paid approximately four times that amount to Monument Construction.
New Mexico Governor Martinez ended the New Mexico Board of Finance meeting with a compassionate understatement, “We need more time in viewing the stability of the institution” [6:03]. Another Board of Finance Member said simply, as if to a child, “Thank you for coming to talk to us. Good luck.”
So what will NNMC’s Administration and Board of Regents do next? Will they abandon the ill-advised, no-bid student housing plan? Will they concoct another multimillion dollar scheme? (Board member Branch has often shared his deep longing for more capital projects and a memorial at El Rito.) Will they be chastened by their own embarrassing display at the New Mexico Board of Finance? Will President Barceló think less of her “legacy “of bronze plaques on stucco and at long last concentrate on serving the instructional needs of our students? Will the Board be reminded of the main mission of our public educational institution?
When the NNMC Board met today (Thursday, July 17th) the Residence Hall update was less than one-minute long, and made no mention of the concerns of the New Mexico Board of Finance and the Board of Finance’s refusal to vote on passage of a $16M “Systems Improvement” Revenue Bond and the Student Housing Construction Project for NNMC. Vice-President of Finance Sanchez said instead--"It is still a work in progress.”
[i] See Monument’s website at: http://www.monumentllc.net/about.html
[ii] Publicity and postcards distributed by NNMC Communications and Marketing: http://nnmc.edu/gallery/student-housing-northern
[iii] More information at: https://www.rbccm.com/municipalfinance/cid-259461.html and http://www.modrall.com/plf
[iv] All direct quotes that follow are from the May 22, 2014 Northern New Mexico College Board of Regents meeting (full audio and video recording available from the NNMC Study Group upon request).
[v] President Barceló’s full statement available at: http://18.104.22.168/wordpress/?p=13076
This week the Northern community learns of yet another resignation in what The Rio Grande Sun has called "a rash of resignations." Gabrielle Amster, the Director of the Northern Foundation, which is charged with raising funds to support student scholarships has resigned. Gabrielle Amster was also a critical fundraiser and point-person for the MALCS (Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social) Summer Institute to be held at the El Rito campus June 30-August 2, 2014.
The loss to our community of talented and dedicated instructors, mentors, advisers and visionaries cannot be fully expressed. In the 2013-2014 academic year, Northern New Mexico College has lost over 25% of its full-time faculty through removal or resignation. Some--though not all--are pictured below. Their presence is already deeply missed by community, students, staff, and faculty.
List of 2013-2014 removed and resigned to date below
** Note of clarification from former NNMC Library Director, who resigned in June 2014:
While I am honored to be considered among those who are missed from Northern, I feel like I need to clarify that my resignation does not represent any kind of protest against Northern's administration. While I feel for those who have been asked to leave, and I understand why those who chose to leave did so, I left for reasons that were independent of the college's leadership or operations ... It is because of many of the people who are no longer at Northern that I felt so appreciated in my position at the library. I wish the best for everyone who has separated from the college as well as those who remain to teach and mentor its students.
Thank you for your work to ensure that everyone may feel informed.
In 2010, the National Freedom of Information Coalition awarded our local newspaper thousands in funds to compel Northern New Mexico College to release public records. Although the State’s Inspection of Public Records Act requires that public records requests be fulfilled within 15 days, Northern New Mexico College routinely violated State law by ignoring public records requests. At the time, Kenneth F. Bunting, the Executive Director of the National Freedom of Information Coalition stated, “This kind of blatant disregard for public disclosure laws cannot be tolerated. The Knight FOI Fund is there to make certain that, even in tough economic times, challenges of this sort get made, and that public officials who don't understand their obligation to be forthcoming about the public's business do not get to make up their rules."
Flash forward to 2014, and members of the public who have requested public records are again facing illegal obstruction by Northern New Mexico College’s Administration. Public records requests sent in May and June have yet to be fulfilled by NNMC Administration, though State Law requires fulfillment within 15 days. Last week, Northern’s Communications and Marketing department sent out a press release explaining they simply did not have the staff (though required by law) or the resources (though required by law) to fulfill public records requests in a timely fashion, if at all. (See press release in full below.) The press release was covered by Academe, published by the American Association of University Professors, which is also currently investigating violations of Academic Freedom at Northern.
In addition, at least one member of our community who sent in requests for public records received a reprimand from the attorney contracted by NNMC’s Administration. Aha! This letter stands as explanation for the legal fees referred to in NNMC’s press release. NNMC is paying for frivolous lawsuit threats to members of the public for daring to request public documents via the prescribed Inspection of Public Records Act of the State of New Mexico.
The same contracted attorney, Tony F. Ortiz of Santa Fe, New Mexico followed with another letter, which threatened “legal avenues” should public comments and opinions “harm the College and its funding sources.” Such a threat against protected speech in writing is quite surprising from a licensed professional. (Tony F. Ortiz lists himself as currently practicing at Scheuer, Yost, and Patterson, P.C., though that firm was disbanded in December of last year. )
Practicing attorneys are well aware that New Mexico has a strong “Anti-SLAPP” statute that was enacted in 2001 (N.M. STAT. ANN. §§ 38-2-9.1 – 38-2-9.2). SLAPP stands for “strategic lawsuit against public participation.” The New Mexico Anti-SLAPP law explicitly and affirmatively protects members of the public from the actions that Tony F. Ortiz and NNMC's Administration have threatened in writing. The New Mexico Anti-SLAPP statute recognizes that the filing of such lawsuits is “intended to punish members of the public for criticizing or opposing actions that the plaintiff wants a public body to take.” It is clear that “the usual objective of such a lawsuit is not necessarily to win, but rather to silence one’s opponents.”
The NNMC Study Group encourages that you read the letter to a member of our community from attorney Tony F. Ortiz and NNMC carefully. The individual who received the letter (posted below in full) was removed from NNMC this semester, though she had a stellar teaching record. While it is laughable that NNMC’s Administration believes it can regulate the use of the words "we" and "our College," such threats are intended to chill public participation in the practices, policies, and procedures of our publicly-funded College. Such a letter is intended to silence members of the public. Such a letter is an embarrassment to our community, to higher education, and to the students who are learning the critical importance of the democratic process and informed public participation.
The community is not silenced by NNMC Administration’s obstruction of the law in its refusal to release public records. The community is not silenced by NNMC Administration’s threats against protected speech. We love our college too much to witness its continued destruction in silence. The community will continue to hold the Administrators in our public institution accountable and we will continue to make public any violations of State Law. The local and national media have done so as well. See the “NEWS” link for further coverage of issues at Northern New Mexico College.
*Special Note: The NNMC Study Group wishes to point out that while members of NNMC's Administration (including President Nancy "Rusty" Barcelo) and attorney Tony F. Ortiz have of late used the words libel, slander, and misinformation, they have yet to identify any actual instance of the libel, slander or misinformation.
 See “NFOIC awards FOI Fund grant in New Mexico public records suit,” August 27, 2010. http://www.nfoic.org/nfoic-awards-foi-fund-grant-new-mexico-public-records-suit
 Full commentary on NNMC’s press release here: http://academeblog.org/2014/07/12/update-from-northern-new-mexico-college/ Article on AAUP’s investigations of Academic Freedom violations here: http://nnmcstudygroup.weebly.com/uploads/1/7/6/4/17644239/aaup_rio_grande_sun_june.pdf
 See the State Law and Guidelines for Compliance here: http://www.nmag.gov/consumer/publications/inspectionofpublicrecordsactcomplianceguide2009
 See the website of Attorney Tony Ortiz listing Scheuer, Yost, and Patterson, PC 2006-present: http://tonyfortizlaw.com/about/ and December 2013 closing of the firm announced here: http://www.scheueryostandpatterson.com/
 For a brief explanation of Anti-SLAPP, see “New Mexico Court of Appeals holds that Anti-SLAPP Statute Does Not Apply to Judicial Proceedings,” Emil J. Kiehne, March 14, 2013. http://nmappellatelaw.com/new-mexico-court-of-appeals-holds-that-anti-slapp-statute-does-not-apply-to-judicial-proceedings/
 Coverage of the removal of Instructor Annette Rodriguez available at: http://www.riograndesun.com/articles/2014/07/03/news/doc53b48cb23cedb403711101.txt
 See links to media coverage here: http://nnmcstudygroup.weebly.com/news.html
To read NNMC Press Release in full, click on the image above for PDF copy.
In the last 60 days, Northern New Mexico College has removed or lost over 25% of its full-time faculty. In addition, 4 program directors, 3 adjunct faculty, and 2 full-time providers at our licensed Child Development Center have been removed or have resigned. For each name on the list below, the students and the community have lost a dedicated educator with a vision and a commitment to our under-served, Hispanic and Native majority, low-income Valley.
*Update - See also "Rash of Resignations Plagues NNMC" in the Rio Grande Sun at
MEDIA tab: http://www.nnmcstudygroup.org/media.html
The NNMC Office of Institutional Advancement prepared a small 2013 Fact Book that demonstrates several key components of the Barceló Administration that have contributed to the College’s decline. As seen above, INSTRUCTION constitutes less than 30% of institutional expenditures, while “Institution Support” and “Other Core Expenses” (read = Administrative) make up 54% of all NNMC expenditures.[i]
In addition, the Fact Book shows 162 full-time Administrators and Staff to a mere 57 full-time faculty.[ii] Indeed, in President Barceló first year in office 23 full-time Administrative and staff positions were added while instructors were furloughed.[iii]
Northern’s dismal graduation rate of 15% (even lower for Hispanic students at this “Hispanic Serving Institution” at 12%) is quite likely due to the decision to deprioritize instruction.[iv] In addition, the paltry 3% dedicated to Academic Support demonstrates this Administration’s commitment to student success. President Barceló’s Administration spent fully 18 times more on themselves than on Academic Support for students.
From the Fact Book (full text below) we also note that a massive drop in enrollment (both full-time equivalent and headcount) is directly tied to the 2011 rise in tuition of over 50%—a move that gained the attention of the United States Department of Education.[v] By way of comparison, the year before Barceló's more than doubling tuition, the enrollment trend was an increase of 18%.[vi] NNMC’s new President Nancy “Rusty” Barceló, who was inaugurated fall of 2010, made more than doubling NNMC’s tuition one of her first major actions in power, our enrollment has not recovered since.
In October of 2010, President Barceló threw herself a flashy three-day inauguration celebration— the first in the history of our more unassuming twenty NNMC Presidents.[vii] During her inauguration, the Santa Fe Examiner reported that Barceló explained that if she “were to choose between community and hierarchy, she made it clear that she’s for community.”[viii]
Yet by the NNMC Administration’s own reports and measures, such as the 2013 Fact Book, the priorities of Barceló’s Administration have—since her first days in office—been demonstrably to the benefit of NNMC's hierarchy and to the detriment of our community.
[i] NNMC 2013 Fact Book, p.6.
[ii] Ibid, p.4.
[iii] For Administrative and Staff full-time positions comparison, see NNMC 2010 Fact Book, p. 3 at: http://22.214.171.124/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/NNMC-Fact-Book-2010.pdf Also full text of NNMC 2010 Fact Book below.For media coverage on the furloughs, see: http://nnmcstudygroup.weebly.com/news.html —scroll to bottom
[iv] From the National Center of Education Statistics: http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/datacenter/InstitutionProfile.aspx?unitId=acb3b3abb0b3
[v] “Ed Dept calls out colleges that hiked tuition by 50 percent,” 30 June, 2011. http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/ed-dept-calls-colleges-hiked-tuition-50-percent-183248263.html For more media coverage of the tuition hike, see: http://nnmcstudygroup.weebly.com/news.html —scroll to bottom
[vi] NNMC 2010 Fact Book, p. 7 http://126.96.36.199/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/NNMC-Fact-Book-2010.pdf Also full text of NNMC 2010 Fact Book below.
[vii] See full schedule of 3-day Barceló inauguration at: http://www.malcs.org/2010/10/president-rusty-barcelo/
[viii] “Inauguration for New President at Northern New Mexico College,” 2 November 2010 http://www.examiner.com/article/inauguration-for-new-president-at-northern-new-mexico-college
Download the NNMC 2013 Fact Book and the NNMC 2010 Fact Book here:
A shamelessly deceptive announcement has been released by NNMC President Nancy “Rusty” Barceló’s Administration. It terms NNMC “the best value in New Mexico.”[i] We at The Northern New Mexico College Study Group believe the advertising of NNMC as the “best value” in New Mexico higher education invites scrutiny.
When considering the value of education for our children, families, community members, we must consider both the dollar amount as well as the programs and services offered. As a “value,” NNMC has raised tuition from $41 per credit hour just three years ago to $169 per credit hour when factoring in additional fees assessed. In addition, NNMC's President and Executive Team recommended a raise in tuition for 2014-2015, which the community and students strongly organized against (as seen in extensive media coverage).[ii] Further, the vast majority of NNMC students are Associate’s Degree seeking students and NNMC has the highest tuition for Associate Degrees in Northern New Mexico. Indeed, Santa Fe Community College's (SFCC) out-of-state tuition is less than NNMC's tuition for in-state students. SFCC students pay $98 a credit hour while NNMC students pay approximately $169 per credit hour (based on $2,030 per semester with 12 credit hours, seen on the announcement[iii]).
“Best value in New Mexico?”
New Mexico Highlands University has fifty-seven undergraduate majors and twenty-four graduate programs in the Schools of Arts and Sciences, Business, Education, and Social Work.[iv]
Eastern New Mexico University offers sixty total Associate’s, Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, (twenty-two of those are graduate degrees) in the College of Business, the College of Education and Technology, the College of Fine Arts and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.[v] ENMU also has two additional branch campuses.
Western New Mexico University offers forty-six Associate’s and Bachelor’s degrees in the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business, the College of Education, and the College of Health and Human Services, and eight Master’s degrees.[vi]
New Mexico State University has the Colleges of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, Arts & Sciences, Business, Education, Engineering, Health & Social Services, and the Honors College with over 100 majors. Its Graduate School awards forty-six Master’s degrees.[vii] NMSU also has four branch campuses.
The University of New Mexico, the state’s flagship university, has more than 200 undergraduate degree programs in the University College, School of Public Administration, College of Fine Arts College of Arts & Sciences, Anderson School of Management, College of Education, School of Engineering, School of Law, School of Architecture and Planning, University Libraries and Learning Sciences, School of Medicine, College of Nursing, and the College of Pharmacy. The University of New Mexico, with five branch campuses throughout the state, offers over 100 graduate and professional degrees.
By comparison, Northern New Mexico College does not offer even the most basic and critical programs to serve our community; such as, majors in Ethnic Studies, Chicana/o Studies, Communications and Journalism, Creative Writing, Criminal Justice, History, Physics, Political Science, Public Health, Social Work, Spanish (Spanish classes are not taught past the 200-level), Women Studies, and so many more that are simply a given at every other New Mexico institution of higher learning. NNMC has no Bachelor’s degrees in Music, Art, or Film, though the first Bachelor's program in the Fine Arts Department (Jazz Studies) was recently accredited. In the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Language & Letters Department, there is a single Bachelor’s degree offered—the Bachelor of Integrated Studies. Northern offers three Bachelor of Science degrees in Biology, Environmental Science, and General Math. Our College of Business is unaccredited[viii], our College of Education is unaccredited[ix], our Department of Engineering is unaccredited,[x] and our College of Nursing does not have national accreditation.[xi] Further, this year our Career Tech programs were cut, as was Radiography. Northern is also not accredited to grant graduate degrees or graduate certificates of any kind.[xii]
With the limited resources provided to NNMC instructors and professors, critical thinking skills are still central to education. The claim by the NNMC Administration that Northern is “the best value in New Mexico” might be more precisely stated, “NNMC: We do less with more.” The Administration of President Nancy “Rusty” Barceló has insisted on becoming a 4-Year Comprehensive Institution, yet when compared to other 4-year institutions in New Mexico, NNMC simply does not provide equal education or services. Thus, for good reason, in 2013, NNMC had the lowest headcount of any of these 4-year institutions and enrollment continues to drop.[xiii] In addition, compared to 2-year community colleges such as Central New Mexico Community College and Santa Fe Community College, NNMC has fewer course offerings and less diverse course offerings at a higher price.
Shame on Northern for insulting the intelligence of our community and our students by raising tuition, reducing instruction, faculty and services and then calling this a “value.” In the Española Valley, over 20% of our residents live below the poverty line.[xiv] The extraction of tax dollars, tuition and fees from our community—while cutting programs, instruction, faculty, and student services—does not equal a value in any sense of the word.
With leadership that appreciated, respected, was responsible to, indeed, valued students over slick marketing, we might see developments and growth in degree programs and increases in enrollment. Instead, under this Administration, we have seen the converse. We hope one day to have an Administration and Board of Regents that believes our community deserves educational opportunities equal to other communities in New Mexico, rather than an Administration and Board of Regents that trades in false advertising and in shrinking our access to higher education.
[i] See full announcement at: http://nnmc.edu/news/northern-best-value-new-mexico
[ii] See media coverage of tuition hikes at: http://nnmcstudygroup.weebly.com/news.html
[iii] “Currently, full-time resident students pay $2,030 per semester in tuition and general fees,” http://nnmc.edu/news/northern-best-value-new-mexico
[iv] See degree and course offerings at: https://www.nmhu.edu/academics/index.aspx
[v] See degree and course offerings at: http://www.enmu.edu/degrees.shtml
[vi] See degree and course offerings at: http://wnmu.edu/degrees/
[vii]See degree and course offerings at: http://www.nmsu.edu/
[viii] See: http://business.nnmc.edu/page/business-administration
[ix] See: http://education.nnmc.edu/page/college-education
[x] See; http://engr.nnmc.edu/department-engineering
[xi] See statement on accreditation at: http://health.nnmc.edu/adn-home
[xii] See New Mexico Higher Education Department’s “Post-Secondary Report:” http://www.hed.state.nm.us/uploads/files/Data%20Research/Graduation%20Rates%20and%20Degree%20Production/NM%20Postsecondary%20AY%2011%20-%2012%20Degree%20Production%20by%20STEMH.pdf as well as NNMC’s program offerings: http://site.nnmc.edu/colleges-and-departments
[xiii] See New Mexico Higher Education Department’s “enrollment data for 2013: http://www.hed.state.nm.us/uploads/files/Data%20Research/Enrollment/Fall%20Enrollment%202013%20updated.pdf
[xiv] See comprehensive population data at: http://www.city-data.com/county/Rio_Arriba_County-NM.html
Student Statement for 10 credit hours or three classes (note number of "fees" assessed)
Less than ten months ago, Northern New Mexico College held a welcome reception for new tenure-track faculty.[i] However, NNMC’s track record for retaining those tenure-track faculty is truly shocking. At the end of this semester, the following faculty and staff were removed by NNMC Administration: tenured Professor David Dillon (Director of Construction Trades), tenured Professor Mike Frain (Radiography), tenured Professor Dean Moya (Auto Tech), tenured Professor Gil Sena (Auto Tech), tenure-track Assistant Professor Dr. James Biggs (Environmental Science), tenure-track Assistant Professor Donal Kinney (Business), tenure-track Assistant Professor Dr. Patricia Perea (Humanities), Director of Dual Credit Crestina Quintana, Director of the El Rito Campus Melissa Velasquez, full-time Instructor Cheryl Peachey (Radiography), part-time Instructor Annette Rodriguez (Languages and Letters), and Administrative Assistant Tina Garcia (Nursing).
Since those removals, several NNMC faculty and staff have tendered their resignations. In the last two weeks those who have resigned include: tenure-track Assistant Professor Dr. Tucker Brown (Humanities), Jessica Bryant, Director of Adult Basic Education, and Head of Title III Grant and STEM initiatives Dr. Harrison Rommel (Chemistry). The impact of these removals and resignations is huge as NNMC has only approximately fifty full-time faculty.
Those who have resigned added much to NNMC—Dr. Brown founded the Veteran’s Support Group, helped to establish our Interfaith Club, and had a student following in Psychology and the Humanities. Jessica Bryant was one of the founding editors of NNMC’s new literary magazine Trickster, and Dr. Rommel was heading the STEM programming for this year’s Federal Title V El Puente/ Summer Bridge initiative. These are a fraction of the contributions these members of the NNMC community gave in addition to their teaching and advising.
Those who have resigned have proven their commitment to students and worked to give NNMC students educational opportunities as well as opportunities for growth. What we all know, however, is that Northern must be a healthy place to work if students are to be served by qualified professionals. The current environment engendered by President Nancy "Rusty" Barceló's Administration encourages qualified and committed faculty, staff and students to seek opportunity elsewhere. Our valley continues to lose critical instructional resources and student services due to the shortsighted policies and practices of the current administration. To those who have resigned, you will be missed. Thank you for your service.
The year was 1972, Don McLean’s “American Pie” was hot on the charts along with Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” and The Godfather was on its way to becoming the year’s highest grossing film. El Grito del Norte, co-founded by activist Elizabeth “Betita” Martinez and attorney Beverly Axelrod was still in production in Española, New Mexico, and El Parasol was a new kid on the restaurant block. 1972 was also the year that Northern New Mexico Community College was awarded the first “High School Equivalency Program” (HEP) Grant funded by the U.S. Department of Education. NNMCC’s High School Equivalency Program—the first funded in the state of New Mexico and the oldest in the nation—is now confirmed as non-renewed after being renewed every five years since 1972.
The Northern New Mexico College Study Group has been informed that NNMC lost its HEP Grant after two disastrous years under the leadership of Vice President of Advancement Ricky Serna. This grant, worth approximately $500,000 per year was taken over by Serna in 2011 after he removed HEP Director Donald Martinez.
Serna disturbed the grant in two critical ways that led to its non-renewal after 40 years of serving students in our community: 1) Serna moved the HEP programs and instruction from the El Rito campus to Española without authorization; 2) Serna then combined the High School Equivalency Program with another at the Española campus—Adult Basic Education (ABE). The ABE program, funded by the state of New Mexico and federal government under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, has significantly different measures and expected outcomes. It is a wholly separate program from HEP, which is specifically for seasonal and migrant farm workers and awards stipends to students to move them toward a GED in a finite amount of time.[i] Serna combined the programs’ instruction and instructors, and allegedly “double-dipped” by reporting the total number of students served by the combined HEP and ABE classrooms to each program separately. In 2013, Serna was reprimanded for this move and was told he was required to separate the programs. But alas, the damage had been done.
Serna was well-aware of his misrepresentation to the granting agencies and this would most certainly not have been done under the leadership of HEP Director Donald Martinez. Director Martinez upheld the long history of HEP’s success and responsibility and in doing so committed the program to continuing to serve those in our community who sought to achieve their goal of attaining a GED. Many of our HEP students continued into NNMC's College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) and achieved Certificate, Associate’s and Bachelor’s at NNMC. HEP and CAMP not only benefited students, it was a clear component of NNMC's recruitment and retention, both of which should be critical concern to our Administration as we have reported lost between 45 and 57% of our student population since 2011. The newsletters from our then robust HEP program under Director Martinez attest to the program's successes and continued potential: http://ged.nnmc.edu/sites/default/files/u236/HEPNEWSLETTER.pdf and http://ged.nnmc.edu/sites/default/files/u3/HEP%20summer%20newsletter.pdf
Because of Serna and the Administration’s willful mismanagement, for the first time in 40 years, NNMC will not be re-awarded its High School Equivalency Program (HEP) Grant.
How many in our north-central New Mexico community will lose the opportunity to earn a GED because of NNMC’s Administration? NNMC’s reports show that the HEP Program serves at least 100 students per year, with a goal of an 80% success rate.[ii] These working-class, largely Chicana/o and Native students, receive tuition, books, counseling, a weekly meal and travel stipend, and the cost of GED testing--all to reward and encourage their efforts at gaining a GED. NNMC’s HEP was once a shining beacon in the Española School District, where the most recent graduation rate was a discouraging and dismal 45%.[iii] Our district, which trails far behind our state’s already low average graduation rate of 72%, has long been served by NNMC's HEP. In fact, Northern New Mexico College had only one of two HEP programs in the state (along with UNM’s Main campus in Albuquerque).
After forty years of successful program renewals, under this Administration, our community has lost the HEP Grant. And in doing so, it has extinguished another avenue of hope and promise in our community. In 2011, President Nancy "Rusty" Barceló delivered a lofty “Executive Proclamation” to celebrate HEP’s 40th Anniversary (pictured above).[iv] Then Barceló and her Administration stripped the program of its Director Donald Martinez, who was gracious in his goodbye though it was clear he had no desire to leave the program he had carefully nurtured.[v]
Once NNMC proudly proclaimed, “As part of a region steeped in a tradition of agriculture, Northern New Mexico College is proud to offer migrant and seasonal farm workers support and resources to earn their General Education Diplomas.”[vi] But again NNMC’s Administration has turned its back on our community and gutted a critical resource. The hubris of Serna, Barceló and company again results in a loss of instruction, services, and Federal grant money that this Valley and north-central New Mexico so desperately need.
The non-renewal of NNMC’s HEP Grant leaves the closest High School Equivalency Program approximately 90 miles away, or an hour and a half drive—if, as a GED hopeful you happen to have the daily gas money.[vii] Again the malpractice of a handful of NNMC Administrators has crushing consequences for our community. In addition, the loss of the HEP Grant will mean that four committed, full-time instructors will lose their jobs as will a critical part-time instructor who has taught computer literacy at NNMC for almost 15 years.
[i] See HEP federal guidelines: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/hep/index.html
[ii] See the report to the NNMC Board of Regents for 2012, p. 5-6: http://site.nnmc.edu/sites/default/files/u3/BORDec072012.pdf and the HEP Annual Profile: http://results.ed.gov/sites/results.ed.gov/files/Northern_New_Mexico_College.pdf
[iv] See the HEP Newsletter: http://ged.nnmc.edu/sites/default/files/u3/SpandSumHEPNEWSLETTER.pdf
[v] See HEP Newsletter, “Farewell Hasta Luego,” p. 5 http://ged.nnmc.edu/sites/default/files/u3/SpandSumHEPNEWSLETTER.pdf
[vi] NNMC HEP webpage: http://ged.nnmc.edu/page/high-school-equivalency-program
[vii] For national locations of the HEP Grant Programs see: http://www.hepcamp.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=47&Itemid=37#NM
New Mexico Legislature on SB-603 NNMC Name Change Bill
Parts 1-8, featuring NNMC President Nancy "Rusty" Barcelo, VP Domingo Sanchez, VP Ricky Serna, and the Public Affairs Committee of the NM Senate.
Feb NNMC Regents Agenda