ESPAÑOLA – About 20 people attended a potluck lunch in the cafeteria of Northern New Mexico College’s administration building on Friday. They brought chicken, pizza, fruit, snacks and desserts to celebrate, and commiserate, alongside departing faculty and staff members.
“It was a good send-off,” said James Biggs, an assistant professor who was one of five instructors notified this week that their contracts would not be renewed. “It’s hard to see a lot of good people go, and it was nice to be able to say goodbye.
“I think the college will continue to lose a lot of good people because of the unethical behavior by administration and their retaliatory practices. Undoubtedly, there will be more.”
Biggs said he has no doubt he was dismissed from his job in the environmental science department because he’s been an outspoken critic of the college’s administration and filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education that the college was misusing grant funds, which the department substantiated. Biggs said he’s considering filing a whistleblower lawsuit.
“There will probably be quite a bit of legal action from this,” he said, adding that several people feel they were let go because they’ve been critical of administration. “There are a number of state and federal complaints now, and I know other people are talking to attorneys.”
The college denies it has retaliated against faculty and staff, saying cuts were made to keep the college financially solvent.