What do you want to know about New Mexico State University?

Correct answer: Nothing. You don’t want to know from NMSU because NMSU is NSFW – it’s the sort of obscenity from which decent people avert their eyes. Tens of millions of dollars in athletics debt… no one goes to the football games… no money for academics… and except for this guy and a few others no one gives a shit.

Here’s a sample from a letter the chair of the board of trustees wrote. I won’t quote from it because I’m one of those people who doesn’t enjoy puking her guts out, but you might enjoy it, so go ahead and take a look.

A couple of NMSU students actually thought trying to understand what the trustee wrote and then responding to it might be worthwhile, and UD applauds the effort. You should never give up on human beings, no matter how…

This is truly a clown school. This is truly a school with not a shred of dignity. And now this. One of their players is a violent shit who set off a huge on-court brawl. UD figures he’ll be back attacking opponents after a two-game suspension. After all, it’s New Mexico State.

“New Mexico State University briefly had a contract with Security Concepts, but severed that agreement just before the end of 2010.”

Okay… But this makes it look as though New Mexico State still uses Security Concepts to protect its campus.

Either way, you gotta wonder why they hired Security Concepts. The owner was “arrested in 1999 on racketeering and other charges in an investigation of crime in public housing that turned up allegations of illegality at [a] downtown Las Cruces bar.” Charges were dropped because they couldn’t find enough witnesses.

More recently (last month), the same owner was “charged with driving drunk with two loaded firearms in his vehicle.”

… [Michael] Gonzales refused to provide a breath sample … During a search of the Jeep, the deputies found an unloaded Phoenix Arms long rifle under the passenger seat, a loaded Charter Arms .38 Special and a Kel-Tec 9 mm Luger, which was not only loaded but had a round in the chamber …

The University of New Mexico – a ridiculous school in one of our most anti-intellectual states –

– has long assumed, correctly, that its ridiculous trustees will listen to the shit the athletics department tells them year after year about taking care of that pesky deficit. Crazed highly-paid coaches, some still working for the school, others suing the school; games in which no one takes any interest; student athletic fees through the roof; academic quality in the toilet; a deer in the headlights president and an empty-threat legislature – you know the drill. Trustees know the drill…

Cuz everything’s gonna be fine as soon as the athletics department not only kills the deficit, but starts making HUGE money. Hold onto your Stetson!

****************

But every now and then there’s a kind of … eruption on the part of one of the trustees. One of them suddenly flies over the cuckoo’s nest and lets out his anger at having been lied to and infantilized for years and years and years. It never seems to happen at our most craven sports factories – Auburn, Nebraska, Louisville – but it can certainly happen elsewhere. Because it’s very rare and beautiful and precious and fleeting, like one brief brilliant flash of a peacock’s tail, we take note of it here at University Diaries.

Rob Doughty, president of the UNM Board of Regents – which is responsible for signing off on years of consistently failing budgets from [the] university’s athletics department – says he feels he’s been lied to and won’t rubber stamp any future athletics budgets nor consider forgiving any of the department’s estimated $7.5 million deficit before seeing significant changes.

… “I want to know right now, in front of everybody, why are we [this much] in the hole when I was promised last year that we had a balanced budget?” Doughty intensely questioned.

… “I’m very upset today. I feel like this Board of Regents and the folks that were there, and especially me, were misled and were told things that weren’t true. And [athletics was] making false promises.

“And, I have to say, that in my time at this university in the last four years, as I sit here today, I think I’m as mad as I’ve ever been…. I think the projection line was done just to balance the budget…. [I] want to know what research was done, what analysis was done to really back the projected figures.”

Hey can’t put one over on Doubty Doughty. That projection line was done just to balance the budget!

I’m sorry, kiddies. Either all of these people are idiots, or this is the way they want things to be. It’s a way of life. You don’t get to break in, a century after the cargo cult has established itself, and say Maybe building a landing strip for magical gifts won’t make the magical gifts appear…

University of New Mexico: Ever-Upstanding.

Now that its quarterback has been filmed calling a woman over to his car and telling her to help him finish masturbating, UNM – one of this blog’s venerable favorites – is in the news again. UD has long argued that a state as corrupt and fiercely anti-intellectual as New Mexico should give up on the whole public university thing, with its Dave Schmidlys and Mike Locksleys and a host of others running this hopelessly shabby show. But on it goes; the curtain … or whatever … keeps going up…

Certain public university systems – Hawaii, Alaska, New Mexico – wallow.

They wallow. They simmer in their own juices. They don’t get nowhere.

To be sure, they’re corrupt. I don’t want you to think they aren’t corrupt, or that there isn’t a connection between their being corrupt and their wallowing. There’s a direct connection. People can certainly make money off of wallowing.

On this blog, we make a point of following the nothingness of these schools, with a particular eye on their sports programs, since here the futility, absurdity, and nihilism is at its most obvious.

Take New Mexico. Here’s a typical recent article about it in the local press.

First sentence:

Missed budget projections, lingering debt and low game attendance have all contributed to serious financial troubles at the University of New Mexico Athletics Department.

There’s no there there, see? No one’s at the games – UD is surprised the teams show up – nobody’s in budgeting … The schools I’m talking about, located in America’s nature wonderlands, are an extension of their magnificent silent mountains, their deep echoing oceans, their stretches of frozen tundra…

Crucial to this vast chasm is a really stupid and corrupt state legislature, and all three of these states have them. A certain dance is danced, to be sure… I mean, like clockwork, when a school like New Mexico is in such profound shit that it demands more money from the state, the state says whoa wait uh what’s up over there? What you guys been doing? Didn’t we, uh, give you some money…? Don’t we give you some money every year…? So the head of the House appropriations committee pledges to

take a “fine toothed comb” to the UNM Athletics budget before determining what additional funding looks like, if any.

“We are going to dive into these numbers very closely,” Rep. [Patty] Lundstrom said. “The questions I am going to ask are about compensation packages. I want to know what benefits these coaches and the athletic director have. I want to know how much over their base pay they are receiving of taxpayers’ dollars.”

Yeah cuz for the last hundred years or so while the school lies there on the ground dead all the money we send you goes to the athletic staff and NOW’S THE TIME WE MEAN IT THIS TIME WE’RE REALLY GONNA …

UNM’s Athletics administrators and coaches are among the highest paid state employees. While [AD Eddie] Nunez has made cuts to programs to save dollars, he hasn’t made any cuts that would personally affect his own personal finances or the personal finances of his staff. The high salaries and many benefits that UNM Athletics administrators and coaches are entitled to by their employment contracts have remained untouched…

…[S]everal salaries [are] above $300,000 per year with a variety of 13 different types of benefits ranging from free-use vehicles to media pay, promotional pay, incentive bonuses, season tickets to games, country club memberships, retention bonuses, free spouse travel to games and in one case a relocation expense totaling nearly $20,000.

[Scathing Online Schoolmarm says: a variety of 13 different types is redundant. Just write 13 different types. You could even write just 13 types. The high number jumps out more if you just go directly for it.]

The AD’s response to this fact is a beaut. In an entire culture of stupidity, it still manages to stand out.

“I am a supporter of incentives because to me, it incentivizes people to do something. If they achieve it, some great things are happening.”

SOS will not attempt to parse this, because she is old and fragile; she will merely remind you that the athletic program at New Mexico is a debacle.







Here at University Diaries, we don’t cover diploma mill grads unless these people are outstanding, extensive, users of diploma mills…

… and unless these same people have achieved high-level jobs in education and related fields.

Cindy Holguin, CEO of a New Mexico charter school, seems more than amply to fit the bill:

Holguin is … fighting back against allegations regarding her qualifications to lead the school as CEO.

[D]egrees held by Holguin from Belford University, … a proven diploma scam, [are] invalid and did not meet standards set by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Holguin told the Current-Argus the only degree she used in applying for her position was an associate’s degree obtained from the Carlsbad campus of New Mexico State University in 1995.

The university was unable to find a record of that degree when requested by the Current-Argus.

In addition, Holguin said she has an MBA from New York State University Online from 2007.

Holguin said she would not cite her degrees from Belford University, saying those were not degrees she was “proud of.”

The I didn’t cite them or We didn’t use them in assessing her qualifications for the job are classic diploma mill-revelation moves… Yes, yes, she got two PhDs from East Ipswich Institute of Holistic Theology… But those are totally irrelevant to her work as superintendent of schools, so they don’t count… I got those degrees when I was a single mother subsisting on dog food and I was desperate…

But Holguin, if these reports are accurate, goes way beyond that. According to my count, she’s got at least four degrees, and it’s possible that none of them exists. I’ve never heard of New York State University Online. New Mexico State University has never heard of Cindy Holguin. And for all we know, there are several other degrees she’s not proud of and doesn’t list for certain jobs…

This is one of the most impressive diploma mill hauls UD has seen, and she’s seen a lot. She has speculated on this blog before about how this happens – how you accumulate not one or two but four or five bogus degrees. Her theory is that once you enter the twilight zone, the outer limits, of university degrees, you are in danger of being lured even deeper into the universe. Why stop at Calaspia when you can take your spaceship to Deltora and then Eternia?







“Plagiarism within a university and a higher education system reflect[s] poorly on Nevada, which is desperately trying to improve its reputation on many fronts, including education.”

Of course this local columnist is right that the state of Nevada has a jaw-droppingly bad ed rep; but she errs in assuming even a non-desperate effort to change this.

UD has for years followed the states of New Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii, and Nevada (UD‘s Big Four) as they run their primary, secondary, and post-secondary schools into the ground.

Not one of these states seems to know how to run schools, much less care about running them.

Nevada in particular – entertainment capital of the world – is all about building The World’s Largest 800 Million Dollar University Football Stadium and stuff like that. It’s clear the state doesn’t even know what universities are. Or – again – care. The center of its world is Las Vegas.

Las Vegas. Nevada’s tax base relies on drawing stupid people to the state, and it’s done a bang-up job. State leaders understand there’s, uh, negative utility in drawing smart people.

So who can be surprised that no one there knows what plagiarism is, much less knows that you shouldn’t do it? The same local columnist expresses amazement that the University of Nevada Las Vegas for years housed a high-profile professor who has been loudly called out as a plagiarist since “his 1990 doctoral dissertation at [the] University of Toronto.” She seems surprised that UNLV seemed disinclined to do anything about this guy until the Chronicle of Higher Ed did a big story about him. A commenter at Retraction Watch notes:

UNLV management were probably too busy hushing up scandals with the basketball team to worry about something as trivial as plagiarism on a massive scale…

The columnist seems just as surprised that the Nevada System of Higher Education “copied large sections of [a Brookings Institution] draft report and submitted it to legislators as NSHE’s own proposal.” Why not?







“[T]he Stanford University School of Medicine had no comment.”

And it never has had any comment since the curious 2008 death of one of its faculty in a private plane crash. People who knew John Borchers at Stanford added their praise to this glowing obituary; and only if you bother scrolling down to the very last comment on the story do you discover (details here) that Stanford had hired a man with ten years of substance abuse behind him, and that Borchers took his plane up with the following substances in his body:

In addition to cocaine and Prozac, toxicology tests by the FAA turned up opiates, mood stabilizers and anti-psychotic drugs…

A raging addict was treating addicts at Stanford University, and Stanford never got anywhere near acknowledging that, much less explaining why it thought it was safe to have this man in patient care.

… Borchers was … under investigation by the Medical Board of California and in danger of losing his medical license. According to the NTSB, an April 22, 2008, accusation by the [Medical Board of California] “documented a history of substance dependence and abuse for more than 10 years preceding the accident, involving the misuse of at least four different substances (including alcohol) and treatment through at least six different programs for substance-related disorders during that period.”

A raging addict took a plane up at night, and if he hadn’t managed to crash it into a mountain, he might well have crashed in nearby Incline Village, killing people.

*******************

So, the problem with failing to acknowledge mistakes like this is that they keep getting made. Look, for a recent case, at how many incidents it took before the University of New Mexico dismissed its chief lobbyist.

Chief lobbyist. The person who represented the university to the state government. A huge alcoholic, he’d racked up his third DWI (plus a non-DWI alcohol-related arrest) before the university finally pulled itself together and fired him.

This man is well-connected (‘son of longtime state Rep. Henry “Kiki” Saavedra’) and in a vastly corrupt, crony-ridden state like New Mexico I suppose that takes you some distance. But even in that context… Jeez.







Update, University of New Mexico

It’s a far less interesting place without the legendary Schmidly/Locksley partnership (read these posts if you haven’t just eaten); but, you know…

The shadow of your smile
When you are gone
Will color all my dreams…

The Locksley buyout and various Schmidly initiatives are gifts that keep giving… And of course when it comes to athletics in particular UNM continues really, really sordid, and things get worse and worse. Let’s quote a bit from a recent article:

In one of the poorest states in the nation, can UNM, which has only one of its 21 intercollegiate sports teams (men’s basketball) turning a profit each fiscal year, justify receiving well more than $2 million per year in state subsidies for athletics? Can it justify student fees totaling $4 million, a figure that has more than doubled in the past two years despite the objections of student representatives on campus?

The new Schmidly says uh I dunno… bad situation I guess but can’t do nuthin…

“The debt service continues to be a challenge for us,” [the athletic director] said, referring to paying down the $60 million renovation of the Pit four years ago. “The financial model was predicated on a naming gift…”

The perfectly named Pit is the basketball stadium. The morons who run UNM promised up and down they’d get some bank or pizza parlor to buy naming rights, only it didn’t happen…

I mean, the financial model?? What a great way to put it. This might be more accurate: I and the idiots with whom I play golf figured we might get the funding if we told everyone

UNM students paid $1.9 million in fees for athletics in 2011-12, with a majority earmarked at covering the costs of student admission to sporting events.

Then, despite the objections of undergraduate and graduate student representatives, came significant increases in those fees. In 2012-13 the students paid $3.2 million and that figure was right at $4 million this past year (2013-14).

“Student fees have been a godsend for us the last couple years. But we, historically, have been on the real low end, and now we’re probably right in the middle,” Krebs said. “But I think there’s a limit to what you can put on the backs of the students.”

In 2012-13, six of the 10 other schools in the Mountain West Conference received more money from student fees than did UNM, as did nearby regional schools New Mexico State University and UTEP.

“I don’t see a huge increase in the student participation around fees, but I do think some nominal increases are probably in their future,” Frank said. “How fast and how much is something we’ll talk to the students about.”

The last fees went up without any talking to anyone. Students objected to them and the school said fuck you. Clearly student fees in years to come will be predicated on the same financial model.







“There is no other component of the university that has the capability to receive the amount of media coverage enjoyed by the men’s and women’s sports that make up our athletic department.”

In a rousing letter to the editor of the local newspaper (“If we aspire to be known as one of America’s great universities, we are going to need to act like we are one of those universities today! That is what is called vision! When we believe in our vision; when we support our faculty; when we support our staff; when we support our administration; when we support our coaches and athletic director; and yes, when we support our board of regents; success will be ours! It takes courage to stand tall in the face of criticism. It takes heart to support our student-athletes who are giving it their all, each time that enter a competition. It takes special people to take NMSU to a new place, and I believe we are in a place in our history, with people of passion, who can help us get there!”) the chair of perennial loser New Mexico State University’s board of trustees reminds his indifferent, pissed off community (i.e., no one goes to the football games, and everyone’s pissed that people like this trustee are bleeding them financially in order to subsidize an athletic program about which no one cares) about our old friend, Athletics as the Front Porch of the University. Nothing else has the capacity to receive the amount of media coverage athletics does! If you understood anything about marketing brands, you’d know that!

Chairman Mike overlooks – fails to mention? – what all anti-intellectuals who somehow end up running American universities overlook. See, branding goes both ways. All that attention sports gives you goes both ways. Don’t get it yet? Let me make it as simple as possible for you. When you’re like New Mexico State, and your sports program is profoundly, repeatedly, embarrassing, the embarrassment always goes way-national. Ask Keith Olbermann, who’s gotten incredible mileage out of NMSU’s pathetic attempts to get anyone – anyone – to sit through one of its games. Ask the ESPN anchors who covered a recent NMSU basketball game where the team and a group of fans responded to having lost (NMSU almost always loses) by rioting.

Ask anyone who has followed NMSU’s efforts to hire an offensive line coach (UD‘s not sure what this position’s salary is, but let’s guess around $200,000. In 2013, NMSU’s head football coach made $363,000.):

[Chris] Symington replaced Steve Marshall, and was the third offensive line coach over the past year for the Aggies. Symington departs as the second offensive line coach over the past year to never coach a game with the program.

Marshall, who replaced Bart Miller in January, departed the program for an assistant offensive line coaching position with the Green Bay Packers of the NFL.

The Aggies have had a revolving door at the offensive line post for a number of years. Prior to Marshall, there was Jason Lenzmeier (who was hired by the University of New Mexico following the 2011 season), Brad Bedell (hired by Arkansas State following the 2012 campaign) and Miller (hired by Florida Atlantic following this past season).

Considering Marshall’s sudden departure — he arrived in January, coached spring football with the program and then left — Symington’s hire appeared to be a good one.

Imagine all the money and administrative time that’s been taken up at NMSU with the saga of the vanishing coaches. I wonder why they all keep vanishing? And now everyone’s talking about the latest one, Symington, who looked so good…

Las Cruces police cited Chris Symington twice in a four-day span for huffing compressed air, the second incident unfolding Tuesday morning inside the bathroom of a Las Cruces drug store… Sunday night, Symington received his first criminal citation after a different LCPD officer found him “slumped over sitting in his vehicle and apparently having seizures,” a police report states.

That officer reported he saw Symington inhale compressed air from a canister.

Yes, when your university is so desperate to find yet another coach that you’re willing to scrape the bottom of the canister, nothing else going on at your university will receive the amount of media coverage the fall-out will.

Keep it up, NMSU! Go Aggies!







You knew this was coming.

The athletic director draws inspiration from the fact that his team played so well after having been arrested.

Half the Eastern New Mexico State University baseball team was arrested (fight, campus parking lot) and then, having been bonded out of jail, they played a winning game that same day.

“A lot of teams in that situation where they saw several of their players get arrested two hours previously could have folded right there at that point,” said [Jeff] Geiser.

How many teams can come back right away from mass arrest to play a winning game? Not many, baby. But our guys were totally not fazed.







“… New Mexico State … dons the futility crown in college football, its last bowl appearance [having been] in 1960.”

Or, as a commenter on an article about New Mexico State University’s football team puts it, “I will never understand fans from these terrible academic/athletic schools that need to have their teams competing on the highest level just to have their brains beat in.”

Let NMSU stand for dozens of American universities allowing themselves to bleed out as institutions for the sake of big-time football.

Let us once more, on this blog, attempt to understand the masochism that insists – against the simple sanity of one’s own university president, and a state senator – that hurling your expensive team against opponents who will always beat you by ten, twenty, thirty, forty points is a good thing.

I don’t want you to think that anyone from NMSU actually goes to these games. I mean, a few people do, but for most in the NMSU community, group psychosis apparently has its limits. Most people there prefer not to purchase pricey tickets in order to watch the players for their school get their brains bashed in.

At the same time, though, enough NMSU people want to get seasonally excited about new coaches and paradigms and shit that they refuse to let the president and the state senator divert football money toward, uh, education. An anti-intellectual school in an anti-intellectual state, NMSU’s thing is to sit on its ass being stupid while its team gets brained. Our purpose is to figure out why this is.

It’s not the spectacle of the brain bashing itself, since few attend the games. If attendance were good, our problem would be solved: We love gore, and the NMSU football team guarantees it. But people avert their eyes.

Since total massive loss is equally guaranteed, could a campy delectation of failure itself have set in? Are the denizens of NMSU Wildean rascals…?

No. They are sincere, ever-hopeful, dog-like fans.

Here’s the best I can do. The Buddha speaks always of compassion, and what’s going on at NMSU is a communal exemplification of this primary virtue. The hopelessly broken – ever freshly broken – body of this football team exteriorizes for an entire community the first noble truth of human suffering. The team is a precious sacrificial vessel through which, ritualistically, NMSU attains not intellectual but spiritual enlightenment.







Sometimes a university becomes so sordid…

… life on campus becomes so degrading, that students take desperate measures. UD vividly remembers the American University students who, stuck with a president whose corruption had become a national disgrace, simply drove all day up and down AU’s main drag, honking their horns and calling out to people on the sidewalk to help them get rid of the pest. They emblazoned their cars with signs like PRESIDENT LADNER: WE’LL HELP YOU MOVE.

All of Washington laughed; the tactic worked. Ladner resigned.

Jake Mayfield’s similarly desperate online petition (I just signed it; if this blog’s long chronicle of the mind-wastage of big-time university sports has meant anything to you, you should consider signing it too) is unlikely to work. New Mexico State University (background here) is much too far gone for anyone to make much of a difference. Unlike AU, located in an intellectually ambitious state (well, district), NMSU is located in what UD calls one of our Right-Not-To-Think states. Imagine trying to explain – let alone get support for – an academic university in Nevada, Alaska, Hawaii, New Mexico. Not gonna happen.

Still, there’s nobility in what Mayfield (a recent NMSU grad) is doing; it’s an important gesture, and one worth supporting.







The curse of living in one of America’s Right-Not-To-Think States…

… like New Mexico, is that you’ve got to read shit like this.

Most people just lie there and read it and try not to feel so defiled by its stupid lies that they want to jump off a cliff (there are amazing cliffs in New Mexico). Others can’t help taking the words in and responding to them, as these two New Mexico State University students did.

Although their effort to introduce reason, decency and (you gotta be kidding) intellect to the state – and, more specifically, to the chair of the NMSU board of regents – is the very definition of noble futility, along the lines of, say, the Warsaw Uprising, they are to be admired for the effort. Attention, as they say, must be paid.

[The chair’s letter] is a strangely defensive account of the glories of our sports program and why it deserves the funding it currently receives, including a controversial $4.1 million annual transfer out of the academic fund.

The Cheney letter may have largely been prompted by the “firestorm” created when then-presidential candidate Garrey Carruthers stated that dropping football to a lower division or even eliminating it entirely were options on the table.

Carruthers nearly immediately retracted that statement, but Cheney seems to still feel the need to rally against the critics. “Like it or not,” the chairman of the board tells us, “we must live in the reality that is collegiate sports today.” We have to keep doing what we’re doing, because everyone else is doing it. We have to pay our football coach more than the entire philosophy department combined, because that’s just the reality of the market…

… [It is impossible to] justify the robbing of academic funds to cover the athletic program’s debts at a time when professorships are being reduced and money for research and public service continues to decrease. The Aggie-pride factor doesn’t take away from the fact that many student-athletes leave NMSU with a subpar education and a host of physical and financial problems. Wins don’t justify the overblown importance of big-time sports on college campuses. Instead of blindly going along with the “reality that is collegiate sports today” — the reality of the NCAA’s perverted money-making machine, of rape cover-ups, of steroid abuse — why don’t we put our foot down, be different, recognize that they’re just games and act accordingly? Why not do groundbreaking work to redefine the role of collegiate athletics rather than just trying to keep up with the big schools?

Bravo. You lose.







The Surreal World of the University of New Mexico

With a 3-13 record, the UNM baseball team plays in an “empty” stadium.

Monday the UNM Board of Regents approved the use of a $2 million Severance Tax Bond, which was allocated by the 2010 Legislature for a new baseball complex.

“It’s not money that could be used somewhere else on campus,” Krebs said. “If we didn’t use it specifically for this project it would revert … to the state.”

And while the state is in need of more money, the athletic department says this is money well spent.

An impoverished university, its academics gutted, builds a new baseball stadium for a team without spectators.







Next Page »

Latest UD posts at IHE

Archives

Categories