Former higher education chief now on leave from college post - Albuquerque Journal

Former higher education chief now on leave from college post

New Mexico’s former higher education secretary is now on leave as president of a small public university in southern Colorado. A wave of media coverage details allegations, which she disputes, that she was a bully and wore an offensive Halloween costume in 2016.

Beverlee McClure
Beverlee McClure

But Beverlee McClure blames an outspoken critic for helping craft a misleading narrative about her leave from Adams State University in Alamosa.

McClure said she requested the leave so she and the school’s trustees could negotiate the terms of her departure after determining that they had different ideas about the school’s direction.

She declined to offer specifics about the nature of her disagreements with the board but stressed that her 2016 plumber getup – featuring a fat suit, too-small T-shirt, faux beard and set of bad, fake teeth – was not the issue.

“I am not on administrative leave because of a costume,” she told the Journal.

The trustees offered few details when announcing their Feb. 12 decision to put McClure on leave. In a written statement, they said, “The priorities of the current board are no longer congruent with the priorities of the president,” and she was on leave “while the parties work through the details of a transition.”

In response to Journal questions seeking more information about the decision – including whether reasons included bullying behavior or a costume – an Adams State spokeswoman deferred to the statement as the only comments ASU planned to make at this time.

Adams State has experienced declining enrollment, and the Higher Learning Commission, an accrediting body, placed it on probation in 2016, citing various issues with its online programming. McClure said the problems predated her arrival.

She said she was proud of her tenure at ASU, citing achievements related to fundraising and growth in minority student enrollment.

McClure has been the school’s president since 2015. That followed a series of high-profile positions in New Mexico.

She had been the state’s higher education secretary under Gov. Bill Richardson and later headed the statewide business group, the Association of Commerce & Industry. She is also former president of Clovis Community College.

Multiple media outlets, including national higher education publications, have reported on McClure’s leave this week. The Denver Post quoted onetime ASU faculty member Danny Ledonne, whom McClure had once banned from campus but who successfully fought the ban in court. Ledonne said her costume showed “contempt for the working people” of Alamosa and was indicative of McClure, who Ledonne said had “cultivated this campus culture of bullying and backstabbing.”

The newspaper also cited five other unnamed current and former faculty members who corroborated Ledonne’s depiction.

But McClure contends that Ledonne has “cyberstalked” her for years through his blog and helped twist the narrative around her leave.

“He’s done a beautiful job,” she said. “You have to give him credit.”

Ledonne, however, said he did not believe the costume – which was written about in his blog in 2016 – was to blame for McClure’s leave but that it did create media intrigue. He said she was “substantially incorrect” in her view that he cyberstalked her.

“Beverlee McClure has made a practice of making false allegations against me for years, and the claim that I ‘cyberstalked’ her is just the most recent,” he said in an email to the Journal. “Further, I believe the matter of the Halloween costume has been distorted in the interest of click-bait journalism and that deeper performance issues better explain” the leave.

McClure said she was planning to return to New Mexico, where she would “probably take some time to heal.” She has not determined her next career move but is reluctant to return to public service.

“When people put themselves out there in positions that are considered public (or are a) public official, you really have to give people credit for having courage these days because one perceived misstep and there’s just a feeding frenzy,” she said.

Home » News » New Mexico News » Former higher education chief now on leave from college post

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages


Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
Valentine's Day in Albuquerque: Lovers, friends and lonely hearts ...
ABQnews Seeker
There are plenty of fun options ... There are plenty of fun options for everyone to celebrate on or around the occasion
Ready for Rihanna? A look at five songs that ...
ABQnews Seeker
Journal Staff WriterI am not sure ... Journal Staff WriterI am not sure if you have heard, but there is a football game this ...
Senate decisively approves bill funding NM wildfire recovery efforts. ...
ABQnews Seeker
While New Mexico waits for federal ... While New Mexico waits for federal disaster relief funds to arrive, a bill that would allow public repair work in the burn scar of ...
Magician Jordan Jonas brings card tricks, mind reading and ...
ABQnews Seeker
Albuquerque magician Jordan Jonas brings his ... Albuquerque magician Jordan Jonas brings his creepy brand of psychic ability, sideshow stunts and storytelling into a haunted evening at Fusion at 7 p.m. ...
Senate Bill 12 aims to expand film incentive package
ABQnews Seeker
A proposed bill will help continue ... A proposed bill will help continue growth of state film jobs and workforce training. On Wednesday, Senate Bill 12 was introduced by Sen. Nancy ...
7 gun laws proposed in New Mexico
ABQnews Seeker
Gun control legislation is a priority ... Gun control legislation is a priority this year; here’s a round-up of what proposed laws would do, and where they’re at in the process.
Walmart shooting suspect pleads guilty to federal charges
ABQnews Seeker
EL PASO, Texas (AP) -- A ... EL PASO, Texas (AP) -- A Texas man pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal charges accusing him of killing nearly two dozen people in a ...
Man found slain at home in Northwest Albuquerque
ABQnews Seeker
A man was found dead inside ... A man was found dead inside a home Wednesday afternoon in Northwest Albuquerque. Gilbert Gallegos, an Albuquerque police spokesman, said officer responded just after ...
Emptying the Notebook: Lobos losing 3-point battle every night ...
ABQnews Seeker
Some extra notes, quotes and analysis ... Some extra notes, quotes and analysis from Tuesday night's UNM Lobos loss to the Nevada Wolf Pack in the Pit.