by Brad Johnson, campaign manager for Forecast the Facts
By a 3-2 vote on Monday, May 6, the New Mexico State University Board of Regents selected Garrey Carruthers, who questions the science of climate change, to be the next president of the land-grant institution in drought-plagued Las Cruces, despite widespread concern from faculty, students, alumni, and local legislators.
After news reports that Carruthers chaired a tobacco-industry front group in the 1990s and is a global warming skeptic, four New Mexico state representatives sent a letter to Board of Regents chair Mike Cheney questioning the wisdom of his candidacy. Last weekend, over 300 New Mexico residents signed a Forecast the Facts petition to the Board of Regents, saying: “Don’t select Garrey Carruthers, who rejects the science of climate change, to be the next president of New Mexico State University.” The petition was delivered to the board by an NMSU student.
Board of Regents Chair Mike Cheney, a local businessman and one of the three supporters of Carruthers, told reporters that he did not speak with the legislators concerned with Carruthers’ ties to Phillip Morris and his questioning of climate science:
On Monday, Cheney said he had not talked to Carruthers about his involvement in TASSC and still hoped to speak to several of the legislators about their concerns about Carruthers’ work on behalf of Philip Morris.
“When we began the search process, we realized immediately that our next president must clearly understand the environment,” Cheney said without a sense of irony.
In a comment on the Forecast the Facts petition, Dr. Stephen S. Mulkey, the president of Unity College in Unity, ME, urged against the selection of Carruthers: