UPDATE #1, Jan 10: The chancellor of New Mexico State University confirms former President John Floros will keep his $450K salary while on a yearlong 'sabbatical.'
When asked if he fired President Floros, Chancellor Dan Arvizu said "actually, it's not a departure from NMSU. It is a retreat back to the faculty."
Following his yearlong 'sabbatical,' which starts next month, university leaders plan for Floros to return to the university to work in the agricultural college in February 2023. His contract was originally set to expire in June 2023. However, Arvizu said he is not contractually obligated to keep that job when he returns.
Back in May 2018, the NMSU Board of Regents chose to hire a separate chancellor and president, making $450K and $500K salaries. Previously, Garrey Carruthers was the sole chancellor and president at a $385K salary.
“Frankly, I do believe it was a financial waste," said history professor Jamie Bronstein. "We never really got the story from the Board of Regents about how they started off a search to hire one administrator and ended up hiring two.”
“How they designed that, how they organized it, I have no idea what was behind it," Carruthers told ABC-7. "But I think they’re drifting back to the old style.”
In November, both the faculty senate and the student government association approved no-confidence resolutions asking for the removal of former President John Floros and former Provost Carol Parker. More than 100 students also protested university leadership that month.
Chancellor Arvizu denied that the leadership change was in response to the public outcry.
"What I can say is it's not directly related to that," Arvizu said. "This is something that President Floros and I have been talking about since literally the day we got here."
Bronstein said faculty members are only eligible for 60% of their pay while on sabbatical and that they must document their research and university contributions. She called the $450K payment to Floros a 'golden parachute.'
"I'm pretty confident that he will not just be collecting a paycheck sitting on a beach," Arvizu told ABC-7.
Read the former president's contract below.
ORIGINAL REPORT, Jan 7: LAS CRUCES, NM -- NMSU President John Floros is stepping down. In a letter, Floros says he will help with a leadership restructuring before taking a yearlong sabbatical.
In a letter to NMSU employees and students, Chancellor Dan Arvizu thanked Floros for his work advancing the University's mission.
"The position Dr. Floros held will not be replaced. Instead, I will assume both roles of Chancellor for the NMSU System as well as President of the Las Cruces Campus. The Regents are aware and support this move, " said Arvizu.
Arvizu says he will hold a short Zoom address to provide further details, including high-level reporting lines and a new organizational chart, at 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 10.