Update: NMSU President on leave

News late Tuesday that New Mexico State University President Barbara Couture was on a leave of absence stunned the university community, with details still a mystery more than a day later.
Regents and school officials confirmed Tuesday that she was on leave, but refused to provide details, or even whether it was a forced or voluntary leave.
Couture, the former senior vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, was hired at NMSU in 2009 after a national search.
Regents chairman Mike Cheney declined to discuss any details and said more information will be available at a public meeting on Monday.
“I really want to try to adhere to the (New Mexico) Open Meetings Act and try to be as transparent as possible … and make an effort to be honest,” Cheney said.
Faculty Senate chairman Tim Ketelaar said he was surprised to learn of Couture’s leave after seeing it on the news Tuesday evening, and is puzzled over the reason. He said she had a positive relationship with faculty.
Couture, 64, replaced former president Michael Martin, who left for a post in Louisiana. Two interim presidents served in the year between Martin and Couture.
Couture did not return calls seeking comment. Her leave began Monday, two days after regents met in a closed-session on Saturday.
In a statement released Wednesday, NMSU’s senior vice president for external relations, Ben Woods, said Provost Wendy Wilkins will assume Couture’s administrative duties.
He said regents plan a special closed session on Monday from 1 to 3 p.m., to be followed by a public meeting. Cheney said that public meeting will be to address the situation...



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