New Mexico State University reversed courses Friday, agreeing to fund its equestrian team for one more season rather than eliminating it immediately.
The university had announced two days earlier it would cut the team’s funding effective immediately. That sparked an outcry from team members who said they were only notified of the decision that day and it was too late to transfer to another university and compete this year.
Chancellor Garrey Carruthers said in a news release that NMSU’s students “are incredibly important to us,” and the university “should have given more notice to our equestrian team.”
“This final season will give them an opportunity to compete and to seek other opportunities if they choose,” Carruthers said. “I have shared this decision with the chair of our Board of Regents and she concurs.”
This will be the final season NMSU will fund the team, the university said in its news release.
Supporters of the NMSU equestrian program are seeking private funding to make the program self-sustaining. Team members are seeking donations to help.
NMSU “supports this approach as advocates for the program work to fund the program at a competitive level,” the university’s news release states.
NMSU is working to address a $12.1 million budget shortfall in the current fiscal year that was largely caused by cuts in state funding for the university and decreased student enrollment. To help balance the budget, the Board of Regents recently approved reductions in some employee benefits, including annual and sick leave and health and other insurance. Carruthers and many other high-ranking university employees have taken pay cuts that are expected to save $190,000 a year.
Also on Wednesday, the university announced that it is outsourcing employee health services to a private clinic and eliminating the surveying engineering degree program. All colleges and administrative divisions are cutting their budgets by between 5 and 6.2 percent.
NMSU also announced plans to eliminate 126 positions — 89 that are currently vacant and 37 that are filled.