Editor,

The New Mexico Book Co-op had a meeting with Interim Provost White about the problems and future of UNM Press.

It was touted that Dean Clement was coming too, but he was a no-show. The Co-op has over 1600 members — authors, publishers, stores, designers, reviewers from all across the Southwest — and 80 people attended on July 24. Although the Co-op has documents scheduling downsizing, employee eliminations (8), titles purged and most distressing — the UNM Press warehouse being emptied of books that are to be sent out-of-state — some UNM employees say that action is not engraved in stone.



Tell that to the people that no longer have a job or authors who's books have been remaindered. Tell that to people who have a contract with UNM Press and the people they worked with are gone and books may be in limbo. One author confronted the Provost at the July 24 meeting that she was getting no information.

The Interim President, Interim Provost and Dean of Libraries quietly tried to enact a plan where the library could have the warehouse, free and clear, remodel it while costing UNM millions. 

Why didn't UNM Press get the warehouse free? Why wasn't UNM Press given a subsidy all these years like other UNM departments and other university presses? Why were those UNM Press staffers eliminated? Why is UNM Press a scapegoat when athletics has a loss of millions every year? The cat is out of the bag now. Add this to the list of Scotland, skyboxes I & II and the mess with the bookstore. More is coming.

We don't know and no one can tell us what is happening to UNM Press. 

It seems the President, Provost, Dean and Associate Provost know more about running a profitable publishing house than the people who do it for a living. None of them have done it, but Dean Clement did get rid of the Utah State Press, and it went to Colorado. So he has experience killing a press.

The community of UNM needs to have people who can write business plans, do spreadsheets and put down numbers. They also need to have their leaders, or lack of leadership, be transparent with what is happening. Why the Regents put up with this nonsense is beyond me. There are better people out there, but UNM likes to hire leadership that they can fire, athletic and academic, and give a golden parachute to on the taxpayer's back. UNM needs to clean up their messes. They are a laughing stock.

Barbe Awalt

NM Book Co-op

Rio Grande Books