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NMSU President on Voluntary Leave, Official Says

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A New Mexico State University official said President Barbara Couture’s leave of absence is voluntary and not forced, according to a letter sent out to faculty and staff Thursday.

Until now, regents and the university had refused to say whether Couture’s leave, which began this week, was by her own volition or whether she’d been asked to do it.

In a letter sent Thursday, senior vice president for external relations Ben Woods said Couture took a voluntary annual leave. No further information was provided.

Couture, the former senior vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, was hired at NMSU in 2009 after a national search.

Regents chairman Mike Cheney declined to discuss any details and said more information will be available at a public meeting on Monday. That meeting will be held at 3 p.m. Monday  at the Corbett Center Auditorium in room 247 in Las Cruces.