LAS CRUCES, New Mexico -- On Tuesday afternoon, over 100 students gathered on campus to criticize the administration of New Mexico State University and ask that the president and provost be removed from office.
"Recently, the university has been poorly managed," said Cole Vetter an NMSU junior who serves as the student-elected senator for the College of Arts and Sciences. "The faculty has consistently attempted to bring this up, only for the administration to tell them that they are a small minority of the population."
On Nov. 4, the NMSU Faculty Senate and Student Government Association passed a resolution of no confidence in President John Floros and Provost Carol Parker. A university spokesman confirmed Parker was placed on paid administrative leave this month. He could not explain why, stating it was a personnel matter.
"NMSU students are connecting the dots behind the larger issue at hand," Vetter said. "The quality of education suffers when money isn't prioritized effectively."
In May 2018, the university hired a separate president and chancellor to lead the university with combined salaries of $950,000 upon accepting of the positions. Previously, Chancellor Garrey Carruthers performed both roles at a salary of $385,000.
Among other grievances, the faculty senate's resolution of no confidence accuses administrators of mismanaging university funds, unethical hiring practices and systemic failure of leadership. Read the entire resolution here.
Chancellor Dan Arvizu met with the protesters outside Hadley Hall.
"I just want you to know that we care," Arvizu said. "We care about the things you care about and we're trying to fix those things. Enrollment declining for the last twenty years in this institution is unacceptable."
Vetter said graduate students are not provided a livable wage. He said after tuition is taken out of their salaries, graduate students live below the poverty line. He also accused the university of failing to take action to meet R1 research status.
Vetter told ABC-7 that he welcomes university leaders to communicate with students leaders at the demonstration.
"It's important for both sides to work together," Vetter said.