ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — With declining enrollment and a smaller allotment from the cash-strapped state, the University of New Mexico is bracing to have $22.5 million less to spend in fiscal year 2017.
The school also will be looking to hire a new president.
Robert Frank announced Friday that he won’t seek to renew his contract after it ends on May 31, 2017. “I am pleased with what we have accomplished during my presidency, and it will be with great pride that I hand over the reins to the next president, who can build upon our successes,” Frank said in a statement.
He was hired by UNM in January 2012.
The Board of Regents now has eight months to choose the school’s 22nd president.
Board President Rob Doughty said the search would begin no later than next spring, and an interim president would be appointed if a successor to Frank isn’t found in a timely manner.
On Thursday, Frank announced the university will put a freeze on hiring, and all college officials will perform departmental audits of temporary and part-time staff positions. Those positions that aren’t deemed to be critical will likely be cut.
He said the expected losses mean everything from programs to staff and administrative positions could face cuts, The Santa Fe New Mexican reported (http://bit.ly/2d5YdGN ).
“We have stretched ourselves to the point where we can no longer do any stretching,” Frank said to a room full of about 500 concerned staff and faculty members. “This is a ‘no win’ for all of us.”
“I love this place,” he said. “I want to see it prosper. But it hurts me when we have to come in and talk about these kinds of cuts. It’s heartbreaking to me.”
After the forum, Frank said it is unlikely that any cuts will happen this academic year because the college has already committed to a certain number of programs and staff positions.
UNM leaders are asking staff and faculty to join a committee to brainstorm long-term financial solutions.
The college is also planning more forums to discuss possible reductions in spending and to keep the UNM community informed.
The university operates on a budget of about $2.85 billion and is not the only one of New Mexico’s colleges struggling because of declining revenues. This year, the Legislature trimmed funding for public colleges by 2.4 percent or $16.5 million.
Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican, http://www.sfnewmexican.com