At the same time that Caldera was being criticized by faculty for not having university experience, he and his supporters emphasized his other skills.
In an interview with the Daily Lobo, Caldera said he wanted to increase the profile of UNM and its role as a research university. He also said that at his past job at CSU he had experience working at the system level for public and private support. He was “very involved in fundraising at the federal, public and private level.”(1)
In April 2003 the Faculty Senate of UNM let it be known by an official vote that they preferred someone else other than Caldera. Of the thirty who responded to a survey, 80 percent said that the president should have experience as an educator, a dig at Caldera. Also they had another survey, where 17 found Caldera unacceptable as a candidateand only 3 acceptable, with at 85 percent disapproval the most for any of the five candidates. Faculty Senate president Burris said UNM’s faculty have concerns about how a president without an academic background would run the university.(2) Faculty also said that since Caldera “never taught in a university setting and would not be suitable for tenure at UNM’s highest level – one of the criteria set forth in the presidential qualifications statement.”(3)
At the same time Caldera and his boosters talked up his other qualities he would need as president. Caldera said that he saw his role as president to be more of an external one. Regent James Koch said that the president would need experience in fundraising and working with the state legislature. As we have seen previously the role of the president is one of fundraising.
Finally, the regents chose Caldera to be UNM’s 18th president. He would be the first permanent Hispanic president of UNM. The Lobo reported that Regent Mel Eaves said of Caldera: “Regents have been impressed with Caldera’s leadership skills and his potential for being able to develop external relationships at the federal, state and private sector levels.”(3)
Caldera went to sign his nine-page contract in Albuquerque on May 14, 2003. His contract was a lucrative one. His salary package was a total of $370,600, which included a base salary of $270,000, a $30,000 annual contribution to Caldera’s retirement fund, a $25,000 annual performance incentive, a housing allowance of $36,000, and an annual car allowance of $9,600. Caldera also had his moving expenses paid for, including any closing costs and realtors fees associated with selling his house in California and buying a house in Albuquerque. UNM also would pay for membership fees and dues in two social clubs chosen by Caldera, along with his “official entertainment and travel.” Also he would get a “special one month leave” every two years in addition to his regular vacation. In addition UNM would maintain a $500,000 life insurance policy on Caldera, along with paying his child care expenses while he serves. This new job was a plus for Caldera, who would receive $148,072 more a year from his previous job that paid $222,528 a year that included a $9,000 car allowance. A larger increase than the previous UNM president. It was justified because the university wants to remain competitive, and the last two UNM presidents did not receive a pay raise. (4)
Attending the 30 minute contract signing ceremony among 60 community people was Chuck Montaño, chairman of the Hispanic Round Table, who we discussed before, who “took time off from work at Los Alamos National Laboratory” to be at the meeting which he called an historic event. Montaño was also a project leader at Los Alamos National Laboratory. It can be guessed where he would stand on military programs, similar to Caldera.
UNM Provost Brian Foster mentioned on Caldera: “We have got to link up to entities and build relationships in the community. Louis’s business focus will help that.” He further stated his “external focus will be on things like legislative relations and fund raising, which is neither a negative thing nor a positive one…It’s just different.” Caldera himself continues to see his role as a modern university president as a glorified fundraiser, saying his main challenge running an urban campus is funding. He also wanted to promote the research done at UNM, saying “A lot of the research we do is meant to promote the stability and security in the world.”(5)
This is not to mention his needed access for classified research at UNM further promoting the imperialist war machine. Although Caldera was the first Hispanic president of UNM, he was more of the same as any president, subservient to the interests the modern university serves.
1. Proctor, Jeff. “Caldera Likely to Fill Presidential Seat.” Daily Lobo. May 9, 2003.
2. Holtzman, Clay. “Faculty Senate Vote Statement to Regents.” Daily Lobo. April 28, 2003. Pg. 1.
3. Proctor, Jeff. “Caldera Likely to Fill Presidential Seat.” Daily Lobo. May 9, 2003.
4. Sanchez, Jennifer W. “Caldera Hits Jackpot As UNM Boss.” Albuquerque Tribune. May 14, 2003. Pg. A3.
5. Simoni, Arthur. “Caldera Has High Expectations for UNM.” Daily Lobo (UNM). October 27, 2003. Pg. A1.