The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

NMSU town hall fosters environment for open communication

“I try to keep in mind that a town hall is meant to give a voice to topics and things that are good to spread to the wider community.”
David Casteñeda
President Jay Gogue hosted a town hall for the NMSU community on Sept. 20, 2023.

New Mexico State University hosted a town hall meeting with President Jay Gogue and Provost Alan Shoho on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023, in Corbett Center Auditorium to share their perspective on the future of NMSU. 

School town hall meetings foster a sense of community within educational institutions. These gatherings provide an opportunity for individuals to voice concerns, share ideas, and discuss issues that affect the school. This collaboration strengthens the campus community and promotes a culture of inclusivity and mutual respect. 

Ruben Diaz, a staff member from the Center of Learning and Professional Development, gave his perspective on the importance of the meeting. 

“I try to keep in mind that a town hall is meant to give a voice to topics and things that are good to spread to the wider community,” Diaz said. “The biggest thing you can gain from coming to this and attending is to have a perspective on where the leadership is thinking.” 

The first thing Gogue addressed in the meeting was the community’s concerns about hiring a new president and ensuring their commitment to the university’s long-term success. The community expressed the need for a president who will be committed to NMSU for an extended period of time.  

“The primary responsibility that was given to us by the Board of Regents was to do the things that are necessary to prepare the place for the permanent resident that will be here next year.” Gogue said. “And so, I would complement certainly the board and the people involved in their efforts to run a very open and transparent search.” 

The meeting also addressed the sensitive issue of hazing within the men’s basketball program. Gogue acknowledged that hazing had been a concerning issue that the institution was actively addressing. They mentioned that three independent legal firms had conducted reviews of the entire athletic department, leading to recommendations and specific action items to prevent such incidents in the future. 

Gogue also highlighted the university’s strengths and areas for academic improvement. The university excels in attracting and retaining students, boasting a robust draw rate. However, student retention rates need improvement, as approximately 25% of first-year students do not continue, ultimately affecting the university’s graduation rates. 

As the second part of the town hall meeting began, various community members posed crucial questions to the interim president and provost. Issues concerning graduate student scholarships and tuition waivers were brought up, with the attendees stressing the importance of transparency.  

Furthermore, concerns were raised regarding the accessibility and affordability of student housing, leading to discussions on potential solutions and partnerships. Open dialogue between university leadership and the NMSU community is important for collaborative problem-solving in academia, as highlighted in the Q&A session. 

Chief of Staff Leslie Cervantes expressed the need for these conversations and transparency between all parties.  

“Some of these questions that were raised let us know we need to have deeper conversations,” Cervantes said. “And we also need to be able to get information out to answer those questions so that there isn’t any confusion on some of these topics.” 

The discussion then shifted to mental health support for students and employees. The State Department of Health had previously announced plans for telephonic mental health services available 24/7, and attendees expressed concern about the mental health needs of the NMSU community. 

An audience member also highlighted the increasing importance of mental health on campus and asked for elaboration on institutional efforts to promote mental well-being. Gogue mentioned allocating additional funding for wraparound services, including mental health components. This funding would support embedded counselors, expanded evening and weekend counseling services, and social work components to assist with case management. 

The meeting then touched on NMSU’s strategic priorities during an interim period. Shoho emphasized that the primary academic priority for the year was student retention. This focus aimed to improve the first- to second-year retention rate to 80%. Gogue emphasized the importance of student involvement and positive peer pressure in ensuring student success. 

“If you’re going to admit a student, you want to do everything you can to help them achieve whatever their hopes and dreams are.” Shoho stated.  

The meeting also discussed the need for NMSU to transition from a reactive to a proactive stance in addressing institutional challenges. It was acknowledged that the university had faced budget cuts and deferred maintenance issues in recent years, which needed addressing. Gogue and Shoho discussed the importance of strategically adapting to changing circumstances. 

“If people are basically your biggest budget percentage, what we are trying to do is to grow enrollment in about two years. We are looking at various issues, from recruiting to internal and external factors,” Shoho said. 

The town hall meeting provided an essential platform for faculty and staff to voice their concerns, seek clarification on key issues, and learn about the university’s strategic initiatives in response to these concerns. It highlighted NMSU’s commitment to addressing challenges, fostering inclusivity, and enhancing student experience. 

“I think we should do more of these conversations,” Cervantes stated. “It is one way to come together as a campus, so I think future town halls would be important.” 

Facebook Comments
Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Ahmad Fairley
Ahmad Fairley, Staff Writer
Ahmad Fairley is entering his first semester with The Round Up as a staff writer. He is currently a senior majoring in Journalism & Media Studies with a minor in Strategic Communication. Ahmad discovered his passion for writing when he was thirteen and has been writing short stories since then. One of his goals is to write a novel. Ahmad loves and appreciates stories and is excited to express that love through his work. Other hobbies he enjoys are drawing, reading, listening to music, and being active outside. Ahmad hopes to contribute significantly to The Round Up and to grow as a writer for his future endeavors. 

Comments (0)

All NMSU Round Up Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *