NMSU proposes gateway entrance options after staff disapprove Pistol Pete statue


Image Courtesy of NMSU Facilities and Services

At the beginning of fall 2020, Facilities and Services at New Mexico State University sent a survey to the university community via email to receive feedback on adding a gateway monument to the future Interstate-25 / University Avenue roundabout. The survey was released nearly a year after the NMSU Faculty Senate expressed their opposition of a possible Pistol Pete monument on campus to university administration.

The future roundabout is a feature of the ongoing I-25 / University Avenue Construction Project being conducted by the New Mexico Department of Transportation in coordination with NMSU and the City of Las Cruces. The project began in January 2020 and is scheduled to be completed by mid-2021.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reported in February 2019 while the construction project was still in its design phase that NMSU’s Faculty Senate passed a memorial stating their disapproval of a Pistol Pete monument and called for a transparent process for choosing a monument.

Through the memorial, faculty stated that Pistol Pete is a “colonial, hypermasculine, and violent symbol” whose display on campus “would be traumatic to many members of NMSU’s community, especially Indigenous peoples, victims of gun violence, as well as women and gender non-conforming people.”

The survey, which closed on Sept. 8, proposed three different monument options which were “Aggie Gates,” “NMSU Bold” and a combination of the first two options. The roundabout and monument will be located on the east side of campus and will connect with Triviz Drive and Interstate-25.

Justin Bannister, associate vice president for Marketing and Communications, said the Aggie Gates symbolize a part of NMSU’s history.

 “These gates have played a part in NMSU’s history since that section of the school used to be the athletic field where the team would enter through those gates,” Bannister said.

The Aggie Gates option is similar in design to the Miller Field Gates located in between Skeen Hall and the Horseshoe on the west side of campus.

The NMSU Bold signage option reads as “New Mexico State University” in bold lettering to align with the university’s slogan “Be Bold. Shape the Future.” The design features a weathered steel background with natural stone veneer and vinyl lettering that is white powder-coated in aluminum.

The third option features a bold design with the “New Mexico State University” piece located in the center of the roundabout and the Aggie Gates located on the southwest side of the roundabout facing the Pan American Center.

ASNMSU President Mathew Madrid and Vice President Tiffany Flores said they both favor the combination option.

Madrid said he enjoyed the combination option’s style.

“I like the combination look—I enjoy their style[s]. I feel like NMSU is lacking its photo opportunities and this would help,” Madrid said.

Flores said she thinks the combination style is a better option instead of a Pistol Pete monument.

“I think it is a great idea—far better than a Pistol Pete monument,” Flores said.

Flores also said that the Aggie Gates could be a nice option since Pistol Pete is already placed in various locations around campus.

“We see some much of our mascot all over campus. I think a nice change like the gates would be something that would draw more people in and show the beauty of NMSU,” Flores said.

There has been no announcement made yet as to which monument option will be the final selection for the construction project. 

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