Opinion: This season, it’s do or die for Aggie football

The NMSU football team has been told by the Sun Belt Conference they are no longer wanted. This next season is vital for NMSU football to remain relevant.


Photo from NMStateSports.com.

By Albert Luna

Sports Editor

Saturday, April 16.

NMSU football is holding its annual Crimson and White Scrimmage, with the conclusion of yet another set of spring practices in the books. The players play hard, the fans come out in pretty decent numbers, yet there’s still something that seems like it doesn’t fit.

It has been on the field for the past two seasons but has an expiration date of just two years more, and on this Saturday in April, the Sun Belt Conference logo remains part of NMSU football.

Obviously by now, most people know that the Aggies’ time in one of the worst Division-I FBS conferences is limited as the Sun Belt has essentially told NMSU (and Idaho) they are no longer welcome to play football in their conference beyond 2017.

Not too surprising, considering NMSU’s reputation as the school with the longest bowl drought. And it was generally expected that not a lot, if any, of FBS conferences would be lining up at the school’s doorsteps to invite the Aggies into their league—which is exactly what has (not) happened.

NMSU Chancellor Garrey Carruthers has been fairly mum on the subject, so there is a whole lot of uncertainty for NMSU’s conference future.

A conference in college sports can mean almost everything. Not only do conferences have direct impacts on recruits and home attendance (household-name universities attract bigger numbers), but also their brand as a whole. A school can gain instant respect and prestige simply from slapping on a particular conference’s acronym next to their name.

NMSU knows this and they know that to get into a somewhat respectable conference going forward, especially in the cash cow sport that is football, they need to perform. That performance can no longer be a long term, exponential plan for growth: it has to happen quickly, and it has to happen in this next season.

Two years can be an enormous amount of time in the conference realignment world. If you need any evidence of this, just go back to the crazy shuffle in 2013 that left NMSU as the odd-school-out and stuck in the now football-less WAC. That being said, so much in college football can be decided on-the-fly in terms of where which schools are going, essentially making a program’s momentum everything. Because of this, NMSU, where traditionally success has been hard to come by, will likely struggle to achieve the kind of success they need to remain in the Sun Belt Conference.

The Aggies must have a winning season this fall and they must make a bowl game in order to keep their chances of staying at the top level of college football. Make no mistake: this next season will have a lasting impact on not only this school but the community for the foreseeable future.

But everything I’m saying is not something that the program doesn’t already know and isn’t preparing for. The face of the program, All-American running back Larry Rose III, says he thinks there certainly is pressure to make a bowl game.

“We don’t think of making a bowl simply because of conference and things like that, but that is a nice added pressure because everyone here wants to make a bowl at the end of the day,” he says. “It’s self-inflicted pressure, if we had to pinpoint it.”

To have a good season, NMSU needs a good start to the season, and the way to do that is to improve the team’s defense.

To accomplish this, the program brought in a new defensive coordinator in Frank Spaziani. And during the spring game, Spaziani’s influence was already apparent, in that the defensive side of the ball had more confidence.

Another important factor in the Aggies’ defense is Jaden Wright, who says the new coach has established a new culture.

“Coach Spaziani is such a good teacher of the game. He’s been right in everything because if we don’t do it his way, we’ll get beat,” he says.

Andres Leighton/AP Photo.

Wright says that players are aware of the situation regarding the school’s conference future but that the coaching staff likes to keep it in the moment.

“We’re just trying to take it one game at a time, one season at a time, and however we do this year, that (conference decision) really is not up to us,” he says.

The third-year defensive back was named the Sun Belt player of the week on one occasion last year and has accepted his leadership role on the team now.

“I tell the guys that nothing that we do will be able to affect tomorrow,” he says.  “We all came here to win, that’s one thing people might not get: none of us came here to lose.”

He echoes the same goals as Rose.

“Our biggest thing is that we need to just make a bowl game,” Wright says. “That’s what it comes to.”

Spaziani and the defense certainly seem to have a groove. Rodney Butler, a senior linebacker heading into his final year, says the former Boston College head coach has challenged his players.

“It’s not only in practice, but it’s also in the film room and he’s pushing us into the best we can be,” he says.

If this Saturday in April is any indication of what is to come defensively, Wright and Butler seem to have their side of the ball well in check headed into the summer.

With the defensive revival seemingly already taking place, the team really has all of the weak spots from a year ago basically covered up, at least from a fundamental standpoint as the season continues to get closer and closer.

With these factors, there can be no more, “Next season we’ll get better” attitude, which Las Cruces has heard since 1960. Coaches need to judge their players on bowl success, and in turn, Athletic Director Mario Moccia needs to judge his coaches on this same criterion.

The time to win is no longer in the future for the Aggies, it is now and it’s more important than ever. The only question that remains: Will this team step up to the challenge?

Sports Editor Albert Luna may be reached at ALuna32@NMSU.edu

Make sure to follow the official Round Up Sports Twitter: @RoundUp_Sports

Mumblin’, Stumblin’ Aggies: ‘The most politically incorrect fight song in the country’

New Mexico has long been one of the worst states in the country in regards to alcohol-related deaths. So is it right NMSU has a fight song that references alcohol?

By Aaron Stiles

Staff Writer

Creative Commons photo.

Every college has a fight song.  Some may be similar in lyrics, and most are similar in spirit, may even be the same song but with lyrics changed.  All are energetic songs designed to get the crowd’s blood boiling with pride for their alma mater. NMSU’s fight song is unique, however, because it’s one of the only college fight songs to reference alcohol and drunkenness.

“… And when we win this game,

We’ll buy a keg of booze,

And we’ll drink it to the Aggies

‘Till we wobble in our shoes!”

Ironically, the lyrics, as well as the song itself, first appeared in an October 1921 issue of The Round Up. Prohibition was in effect at this time, in essence making the song “illegal.”  Through the mid-20th Century, the song underwent many changes but none of them were as popular as the original.  Today, the Aggie Fight Song is just the same as it was printed in 1921.

But, as seen last year with the furor created over the Confederate Flag, simply because something is historical does not necessarily mean it is inoffensive.

There hardly seems to be a day when the media headlines don’t incorporate some mention of alcohol-related death on a college campus, or a tragedy or a crime happening as a result of alcohol.  Moreover, college campuses are often inundated with anti-bingeing propaganda, and NMSU is no different.

The Wellness, Alcohol and Violence Education (WAVE) program at NMSU disseminates immeasurable amounts of information about the dangers of drinking in excess.  Such information is seen on fliers tacked to billboards, corkboards, and taped, pasted, or stapled on surfaces all around campus.

WAVE began at NMSU in the fall semester of 2005, and was a merging of two former campus programs: CHOICES, an alcohol-abuse prevention program, and the Violence Intervention Program (VIP).

How are students to interpret WAVE’s presence on a campus whose fight song may or may not encourage excessive drinking?

“It does put forth contradicting norms,” says Meg Long, a program specialist at WAVE. “One of the things we work on a lot is social norms. For instance, when we do our surveys (on campus drinking) every year, (according to our survey) the average student drinks two to three drinks a week, but then we ask students how much they think their classmates drink, and they think they have nine drinks a week. So what students perceive in terms of normal drinking versus what is really normal drinking is something that we try to correct.”

Further, Long said the question of whether WAVE’s presence and the NMSU fight song are contradictive is “a tough one.”  She says WAVE focuses on a harm-reduction approach to drinking.  That is, educating users of harmful substances, such as alcohol, on the effects of the substance, though not necessarily promoting they stop using that substance.

“(The Fight Song) clearly does not support the harm-reduction approach, in regard to binge drinking, that we focus on,” Long says.  “It is a touchy subject because a lot of people talk about (the Fight Song) in terms of tradition, less than really looking at it and saying, ‘If we are (singing) about drinking until we can’t walk, what message is that sending to the students?’”

This question is not insignificant.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2014 published a study comparing alcohol-related deaths in each state per 100,000 people between 2006 and 2010. The study found New Mexico had an average of 51. 2 alcohol-related deaths per 100,000 people, the highest in the nation.  The lowest rate was in New Jersey, with 19.1 deaths per 100,000.

Despite such statistics, Long says in the three years she has been working with WAVE, neither she nor the program has not been approached with questions or concerns about the fight song.

The last time any concern as to the appropriateness of the song was raised was in 2003.

“The last few years, we’ve had some alumni say that New Mexico is one of the worst states in the nation for driving while intoxicated,” said Debbie Widger, former alumni relations director at New Mexico State, to The Associated Press in 2003. “Earlier this year, we attended an alumni function in Denver, where once again the topic was raised.”

Official U.S. Navy photo released by Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Marianas Public Affairs Officer, LT. A. Chisholm.
Creative Commons photo.

Widger took the issue to NMSU’s Panorama alumni magazine, which surveyed  alumni on whether to change the fight song’s words.

“Several years ago, a national magazine (though it does not specify which and research by The Round Up/Oncore Magazine turned up no results) suggested that New Mexico State University had the most politically incorrect fight song in the country, particularly citing the words ‘We’ll buy a keg of booze / And we’ll drink it to the Aggies / ’Till we wobble in our shoes,’ which have been perceived as promoting excessive alcohol consumption,” says the poll.  “We turn to you, our alumni, for advice on whether to address this issue by adjusting the lines in question, or to leave them as they are.”

Widger told the AP there had been “pretty strong opposition” to changing the song from some younger alumni.  Evidently, as the song has remained the same, the majority response to the poll was not to change the lyrics.

No poll has been taken since and no concern has been raised as to the appropriateness of the song, even though New Mexico has long been one of the worst states in the country in regards to alcohol-related deaths.

“New Mexico’s total alcohol-related death rate has ranked 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in the U.S. since 1981; and 1st for the period 1997 through 2007 (the most recent year for which state comparison data are available),” says the New Mexico Department of Health’s website.  “The negative consequences of excessive alcohol use in New Mexico are not limited to death, but also include domestic violence, crime, poverty, and unemployment, as well as chronic liver disease, motor vehicle crash and other injuries, mental illness, and a variety of other medical problems.”

Since 1990, a table on the DOH’s website reports, the alcohol-related death rate in New Mexico has stayed within the mid-40s to upper-50s, reaching an all-time high of 59.7 deaths per 100,000 people in 2014.

So what do students at NMSU think of the joint presence of WAVE and the fight song on campus?

Beer pong is a popular college party game.  Creative Commons photo.

“I think it’s a good thing that WAVE is here,” says freshman communication disorders major Brook Suneson.

Suneson says a lot of people in her experience are uneducated about the dangers of alcohol and drugs, which WAVE can help change. She told an anecdote of a student nearly falling down the stairs in the football stadium because he was drunk.  Suneson said she would recommend changing the alcohol reference in the Aggie Fight Song.

“I think (the fight song)’s pretty funny,” says Alicia Pacheco, a freshman nursing major.
“I feel like it implies that going to a football and drinking are tied in, that it’s something you’re obligated to do.”

However, influence of the song really depends on the person, Pacheco says. Pacheco said

“The whole song kind of does influence a little bit more drinking, but then the WAVE program is helping people to prevent it, so I feel like in a way they kind of balance each other out,” she says.

Pacheco does not recommend any changes to the fight song, but advises people not to take its message too literally.

For now the Aggie Fight Song will stay on the playlist, with no change to the lyrics.


NMSU organization gives Native students much-needed support

NMSU’s Nations organization is geared toward building a Native American Christian community on campus.

By Nani Lawrence

Staff Writer

bearfoot story pic.jpg
Nations’ symbol.  Photo courtesy of Nations’ Facebook page.

Almost every week, a New Mexico State University student organization gathers at a corner-house on Bellamah Drive for a home-cooked meal, socializing, and to discuss Bible passages. After the hour or so it takes to prepare the potatoes, the corn, the meat, the squash, and the from-scratch tortillas, the group gathers in the living room. Jacob Reta, also known as Bearfoot, asks them to bow their heads as he thanks God for the food they are about to eat and the people who expended the effort to make it.

As a Native American student, Reta has not had an easy life, in his village of Tortugas or in college.

“A lot of Native students (at New Mexico State University) are probably the first generation to attempt to go to college, or even graduate high school for that matter,” Reta says. “It’s a huge culture shock.”

Statistics from the National Indian Education Association indicate that the high school dropout rate for these students is at seven percent.

“Native people don’t participate effectively in the American educational system at all levels,” says Native scholar and New Mexico State University anthropology professor Donald Pepion. He specializes in the Blackfoot Nation of Montana, consisting of four tribes.

Across the country, university retention efforts have focused on negative things, such as dropout rates. Pepion feels they should focus more on positive aspects of having students from these Native cultures on their campus.

“It hasn’t been said, but I know in our hearts we want to change (the dropout rate),” Bearfoot says.

Nations was founded in 2004 by Donnie and Renee Begay, former members of Crusade for Christ and Destino. They really wanted to create something tailored to their Native culture, Donnie Begay says.

“We began the group in hopes of helping Native students, and do so through learning about faith,” Begay says. “(My wife and I wanted a) space for Native American students to be who they are, to speak their languages, eat foods they miss from home, and learn about faith from a Native world view/perspective.”

During the biblical discussions, each member of Nations is able to share his or her own interpretation of passages.

An anthropological term Pepion mentioned was acculturation. It occurs when a dominant culture attempts to tailor a minority to its own ways, erasing the minority’s way of life. This group seems to be one way in which that effect is prevented.

Nations tries to provide a safe and loving home away from home for Native students.

“Not just Native students, but freshmen in general are to themselves, in Garcia (Hall). We’re here for you, let us show you how we can love you,” Bearfoot said.

Reta says there is also a bit of a catch-22 about seeking out higher education as a Native person. Their families do want them to receive an education, to come back and better the reservation. But sometimes, these same people get the idea that, since they left, these students are “too good” for them, “city slicker,” “urban Indian,” he says.

There are many other things that affect Native Americans in higher numbers, from certain health conditions to police brutality, but one of the things that really upsets Reta was ignorance about the Native struggle.

One theory Pepion has about why this ignorance exists is because the history of the Native encounter with white, European settlers was not written from the Native perspective.

“For example, we want to celebrate (Christopher Columbus) as Americans, that he discovered this place. But that discovery brought a lot of things to North America,” including religious wars, he says.

The members of Nations, mostly Navajo and Pueblo, share a common background. They can understand each other.

Nations adviser Ashen Schumpelt grew up in the Four Corners area, so she had many Native friends. This put her in a good position to help these students.

“Leading others helps me grow in my own faith,” she says.

Begay says he feels Schumpelt is a great asset to the group. Not only does she add something they really needed with her own leadership, but she’s also been very helpful in finding Native student leaders to help sustain and grow this organization.

The most important thing Bearfoot credits Nations for, and Schumpelt in particular, is leading him on the best journey of his life.

This past summer, Reta was presented with the opportunity to volunteer in a village in Mongolia. Schumpelt really felt he should, but he wasn’t so sure. Raised both Catholic and ‘traditional’ Native, Bearfoot sought spiritual advice from her, and was told to follow God’s calling. Instead, God called on Reta to volunteer at the Boys and Girls Clubs’ Gates Camp in Denver.

Interacting with kids all day in an influential way felt great, he says. There was one child in particular who really grabbed his affections, a Native boy named Dominic. After receiving permission from both Dominic’s grandmother and the camp itself, they exchanged contact information, and talk on the phone every day.

“If I care about you, you’re family. And that kid is my little brother,” Bearfoot says.

NMSU firefighters keep campus, community safe

The New Mexico State University Fire Department is one of only two student firefighter programs in the nation. The department currently has 14 full-time students who double as full-time firefighters, fully licensed and certified.

By Kimberly T. Rodriguez

Staff Writer

Members of the NMSU Fire Department.  Photo by Billy Huntsman.

The New Mexico State University Fire Department is one of only two student firefighter programs in the nation. The department currently has 14 full-time students who double as full-time firefighters, fully licensed and certified.

The program began in 1921 as all-volunteer. The fire station was built in 1965, by which time students who volunteered in the program were expected to respond to emergency calls.

Over the years student firefighters have been paged and had to leave class to respond to emergency calls.

The student firefighters live in dorms at the station and are required to work every other day starting at five p.m. to eight a.m. during the weekdays. On weekends, two teams of seven firefighters each take 24-hour shifts. One team starts on Saturday morning at eight a.m. to Sunday eight a.m. The second team goes from eight a.m. on Sunday to Monday morning. They also work during any school breaks.

For students to be become firefighters, they must accomplish training courses to obtain licenses and certifications. Doña Ana Community College provides a Fire Science program that allows students to learn what is required. After the course they are qualified to obtain Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) licensure.

Once they are licensed they are allowed to continue their training in the fire department, such as: firefighter I training, driver training, rope rescue, technical training, and much more as the student progresses in the program. Ride-along and medical assistance are also parts of their training.

Aside from all of the required training, these students are also studying for classes and completing homework.

Lieutenant Patrick Armijo has been with the department for two and a half years and has gained a lot of experience. His major had been accounting but once the department was hiring, he applied and has changed his mind on what he wants to do for his career.

“It’s been a good experience.  I have learned a lot. I want to do this after I graduate,” says Armijo.

Armijo shared one of his most memorable calls: an injured hiker was stuck up in the Organ Mountains and Armijo was able to witness and participate in the rescuing.

“It’s a long process and it’s the most technically advanced call I have gotten here,” he says.

Armijo plans to apply to the Albuquerque Fire Department when he graduates spring 2016.

Angelo Pacheco, an applied studies major with a minor in geography, volunteered for the program after attending DACC for their Fire Science Program. He recalls one particular call that left him interested in making firefighting his career.

“A kid got ran over,” he says.  “I didn’t like the call but I liked the way everyone worked together–our department and the multiple county departments, ambulance, and helicopter. To see the whole process from the beginning incident to us arriving to the scene, ambulance, helicopter, it was great to see,” says Pacheco.

He also plans on joining the Albuquerque Fire Department when he graduates.

Another firefighter, Guillermo Placencio, described his experience as career changing.

“I had no intention to be a firefighter because of my degree in criminal justice,” he says, adding he had initially wanted to be a police officer.

Now, though, he is committed to being a full-time firefighter.

Placencio’s most memorable call included a man whose heart had stopped.  The NMSU Fire Department was the first to arrive on scene.

“From what we learned from EMT classes, we brought him back. It’s intimidating but the skills you learn make it worth it,” says Placencio.

One incident that the student firefighters remember the most is when Jett Hall had a fire. The NMSU Fire Department was dispatched around three a.m. They saw smoke coming from inside the building and went in to investigate. Firefighters outside were radioed to bring the fire hose in to spray the room that was on fire. After the incident, they found the cause of the fire was an electrical problem.

The student firefighters have responded to number of false alarms through the years, such as at Garcia Hall, yet they say they still respond to all calls seriously.

NMSU Fire Department is currently hiring for anyone who is interested in volunteer service or who are pursuing a firefighter career. No qualifications are needed but to work well with a team. There’s a high demand for physical training.

For more information visit the fire department’s website or contact 575-646-2519

Getting flu shots important for your health, those around you

The elderly, the immune-compromised, and babies under six months of age are especially susceptible to infection, due to an either aging or under-developed immune system. Under-developed systems cannot be vaccinated because they are not equipped to handle even an inactivated virus. Elderly individuals can and are highly encouraged to get the shot, but it won’t work quite as well as it might on a younger and healthier immune system.

By Nani Lawrence

Staff Writer

flu story pic
A vial of flu vaccine.  Creative Commons photo.

Typically starting in the middle of fall, people flock to pharmacies to receive their annual flu shot.

Some people have started to skip this ritual, especially recently, because of the vaccine’s imperfect science, an adversity to needles, or a machismo fantasy of simply ‘toughing out’ a potentially deadly bout of the flu.

Efforts from the medical community have been made to focus this vaccine’s benefits more on public health than individual health, and rightfully so.

There is an obvious benefit to your own health, but it’s more important to those that you may care about, NMSU virus researcher Kathryn Hanley says.

“The reason I get the flu vaccine is that I have a 74-year-old mother and a niece or nephew about to be born,” she says.

The elderly, the immune-compromised, and babies under six months of age are especially susceptible to infection, due to an either aging or under-developed immune system. Under-developed systems cannot be vaccinated because they are not equipped to handle even an inactivated virus. Elderly individuals can and are highly encouraged to get the shot, but it won’t work quite as well as it might on a younger and healthier immune system.

“The more that the well-young community gets vaccinated, the more we can do something called cocooning the vulnerable population,” Hanley says.

If everyone around these vulnerable individuals are protected and therefore cannot pass on the virus, vulnerable populations do not have to worry about being stricken with an illness their systems won’t be able to fight off.

An objection to the flu vaccine in particular seems to be that the flu virus changes from year to year, calling for annual shots.

“If you get the measles vaccine, you are never going to get infected with measles. But when you get an influenza vaccine, you can still be infected with influenza,” Hanley says.

The flu originated in bird populations, says Hanley, and the virus has mutated so much as to be introduced into the human population.

According to the CDC, everything from severity of a flu season to even when the flu season will start is very unpredictable, which may be incentive to get vaccinated every year.

“You can still get sick (even if you’re vaccinated), but at least I feel like I tried everything I could to prevent it,” says Rita Ancira, an elderly retired resident from Alamogordo.

The concern about annual shots also stems from the vaccine not always being as effective as it could be in a certain flu season. Hanley says the vaccine lessens the severity of symptoms if you do happen to catch the flu.

“It does take up to 10 days for the flu vaccine to take full effect, so (those who believe it made them sick) might have been exposed elsewhere,” says Cruzita Montoya, a charge nurse at NMSU’s Health Center.

Although the flu is lurking around most of the year, it is very rare to actually be infected outside of colder fall/winter months.

The Health Center currently still has a vaccine called Fluzone available, which protects against four different strains of the virus, for a $20 fee.

A ‘flu mist’ is also available for those who don’t like needles. It isn’t available at the Health Center, says Montoya, but it is elsewhere in Las Cruces.

“It takes some prodding (to convince him), but my husband and I get our shots every year, along with pneumonia shots because of our age,” says Ancira.

According to Montoya, people with certain health conditions, such as Ancira’s husband, who has diabetes, could develop more severe cold symptoms.

The ‘cocooning’ effect Hanley mentioned, sometimes referred to as herd immunity, is terribly important for public health efforts, the researcher says.

“I think people really have a community responsibility to get vaccinated,” Hanley says.

The Health Center takes walk-in appointments from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. from Monday through Friday. Many pharmacies, such as Walgreens/CVS, will provide flu shots for free depending on health insurance.

NMSU Has Lost More Than 130 Professors in 13 Years: Part 5

Among the reasons cited by former NMSU professors as to why they left the university include: racism, sexism, homophobia. Despite the fact NMSU professors’ salaries are below the national average, “dissatisfaction with salary was not a major factor in most respondents’ decisions to leave NMSU.”

By Billy Huntsman

Managing Editor

This is the fifth installment in The Round Up/Oncore Magazine‘s 14-part series investigating professor turnover at NMSU.

Why Eber’s respondents left

Christine Eber, professor emerita in the Department of Anthropology, published a study in 2008 titled “A Diamond in the Rough: Faculty Retention at New Mexico State University.” The study focused on why 34 professors left NMSU between 2005 and 2008.

The reasons Eber’s respondents left NMSU were “a mixed bag.”

Most, 18 in fact, left for tenure-track assistant professor positions at other universities. Two left for deanships, two for department headships. Interestingly, four left for non-academic positions, and another four left NMSU without another job arranged.

Twenty received substantial salary increases (anywhere from $15,000 to $55,000 increases), while three received decreases, though “dissatisfaction with salary was not a major factor in most respondents’ decisions to leave NMSU,” Eber writes.

Eber’s 34 interviews, some as many as two hours long, were conducted one-on-one, with Eber asking a series of open-ended questions, rather than having the respondent respond to a survey.

From the respondents’ comments, Eber created encapsulations of what respondents said was most problematic at NMSU

Among the issues Eber found were:

  • Lack of meaningful mentoring for new faculty from senior or experienced faculty (25 of Eber’s 34 respondents mentioned this in some way).

One respondent reports feeling as though new faculty are given the message, “We’ll see if he/she can make it” by experienced faculty.

  • Resignation about limited resources, acceptance of mediocrity and the status quo, not thinking highly enough of one’s colleagues and students, administrators feeling threatened by faculty members with new ideas and theoretical perspectives (19 respondents).

“‘At NMSU if you came up with a new idea there was much resistance,’” Eber quotes one respondent. “‘They always wanted to do it their way.’”

  • Faculty members feel a lack of appreciation from administrators (17 respondents).

“‘Administrators give the faculty the impression that they are replaceable,’” Eber quotes. “‘Fungible, as (Donald) Rumsfeld said about the troops in Iraq. NMSU has a callous, cavalier attitude about losing faculty.’”

In this section also, three separate respondents emphasize what “a difference” a thank you would have made.

“‘I got some very large grants that went to NMSU,’” Eber quotes one respondent. “‘I never got a note from anyone, no acknowledgement that this was an important contribution to NMSU. If a person had contributed as a donor, they would have received a thank-you card. A note from the VP or Provost – ‘This is wonderful’ – would have been nice. I got the impression that getting huge amounts of money is just expected of faculty at NMSU.’”

  • Faculty members become exhausted from heavy teaching loads (15 respondents).

“‘I could not do research with such a heavy teaching load,’” one respondent says. “‘I was expected to be superhuman.’”

In addition to heavy teaching loads, respondents also frequently complained of being unable to meet departmental and/or college research and service expectations.

“‘All faculty at NMSU do burdensome work, serve on many committees and lots of extracurricular work,’” says one respondent. “‘The learning curve to serve on committees is steep. The administration at NMSU keeps wanting to suck people dry.’”

  • Colleges and departments are poorly connected (13 respondents).

“Difficulty working across departments or units was a problem,” Eber paraphrases a respondent. “In the faculty member’s current position, working across units is considered an advantage because the university is trying to transform itself. There is greater willingness to try different things.”

  • Lack of a sense of community, exhibited in inadequate welcome, orientation and assistance for new faculty members to integrate into the NMSU and surrounding communities (12 respondents).

“‘At my new job I have been invited to and introduced at many events since my arrival,’” one respondent in Eber’s study says. “‘Faculty have helped me get to know the people I can work with. No such effort was made at NMSU.’”

Further, Eber pairs this problem with “a sense of people competing with one another for scarce resources, recognition, benefits.”

“‘E-mail messages describing the accomplishments of departments and faculty from the college had the effect of pitting departments against one another, evoking a sense of competition, rather than of celebration,’” Eber quotes one respondent. “‘There must be a better way to celebrate faculty accomplishments.’”

  • Administrators are out of touch with faculty members’ realities and don’t seem to care to know (12 respondents).

“For example, some staff members think that professors just ‘show up’ for their classes,” Eber again paraphrases a respondent.

Later, she paraphrases another respondent as saying faculty members are not respected by all levels of administration.

  • Administrators have superficial understanding of diversity. Racism, sexism, classism, and homophobia are persistent problems (11 respondents).

Two respondents report instances of misogyny in their respective colleges. Another opposed two male colleagues hiring a candidate the respondent felt was “sexist, rude, and inappropriate.”

Another respondent reported “strong racism” in his/her department, college, and the university at large. Colleagues of the respondent seemed to give him/her the message, “Remember, you’re not one of us.”

“‘It is possible to flourish at NMSU, but mostly only White men flourish,’” one respondent says.

Eber also makes note of several Anglo respondents who reported being accused of racism by Hispanic administrators whom the respondents had confronted about abusing their power.

Diversity issues are not confined to the realms of race/ethnicity, Eber reports.

“At least three junior faculty members in this study left NMSU because they were unable to resolve their problems with senior male faculty members who belong to an ‘old-boy network’ that protected them at the expense of the junior faculty members,” Eber writes.

  • Lack of transparency in decision-making (11 respondents).

Complaints in this area ranged from being unable to “get answers from administrators about resource distribution,” “a person could be denied tenure and the dean didn’t feel (he/she) had to say why,” and “efforts on search committees were empty because in the end administrators made the decision about whom to hire.”

  • NMSU does not offer help or services to the people of the state (8 respondents).

“After the devastating rain in New Mexico in 2006, the university did not do anything for the nutrition and food safety of the displaced migrants in the affected areas,” Eber paraphrases one respondent. “There were no course releases (for professors) for (volunteer) efforts to take the university to the people, because no one cared about this.”

Poor leadership, either at the dean and/or department head/chair level, was also frequently cited, by Eber-interviews.

Nine of Eber’s respondents say their department heads were “a negative force.” Other comments include “‘I got the impression that the dean didn’t care,’” “‘that the dean expected faculty to leave,’” and “‘the college and university doesn’t seem to care (that [professors] are leaving).’”