Mesalands president placed on leave

Mesalands Community College President Mildred Lovato was placed on paid administrative leave Oct. 31 in a closed-door executive session, according to board Chairman J. Bronson Moore.


Moore said trustees decided in executive session to place Lovato on administrative leave. The closed-door session was part of a special meeting, Moore said, adding that Lovato was sent a certified letter explaining her status at Mesalands.

Moore said no action was taken in public session. He said the college's attorney advised the board that this is how they should proceed.

Moore said the board of trustees is awaiting Lovato's response to the certified letter.

Lovato was not immediately available for comment.

Officials declined to state a reason for placing Lovato on administrative leave.

The duties of running the college are being split between Vice President of Academic Affairs Natalie Gillard and Vice President of Student Affairs Aaron Kennedy, said Kimberly Hanna, public relations director.

Lovato was hired as Mesaland's president in April 2011 to replace retiring president Phillip O. Barry. She took over officially on July 1, 2011.

During her time as president, Lovato has overseen expansion of a partnership between the college and the University of New Mexico.

In January 2011, Barry signed a letter of agreement with Jeronimo Dominguez, vice president of UNM's Extended University.

The agreement made UNM's business administration and early childhood education bachelor degrees available to Mesaland students through the Internet and interactive television (ITV) courses.

Lovato signed an agreement with Dominguez in August 2012, expanding the agreement. It placed an advisor on the Mesalands campus to assist students enrolling in UNM upper-division and graduate-level courses.

Also, one of the course expansions included a master's degree in public administration.

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