Local News

Ex-N.C. State chancellor not headed to New Mexico

Posted November 30, 2009 11:56 a.m. EST
Updated November 30, 2009 12:13 p.m. EST

— James Oblinger, who stepped down in June as chancellor of North Carolina State University amid questions of his role in the hiring of former Gov. Mike Easley's wife, has lost out on his bid to become president of New Mexico State University.

Oblinger had been a finalist for the job, which recently went to University of Nebraska senior vice chancellor Barbara Couture.

New Mexico State faculty and students had expressed concern over Oblinger's candidacy because of his resignation over the Mary Easley affair.

A string of e-mails released by N.C. State this summer showed Oblinger communicated with university officials prior to Mary Easley's hiring in 2005, despite his claims that he wasn't involved in the matter. University officials also questioned a lucrative payout he negotiated with former provost Larry Nielsen, who also resigned because of his role in Mary Easley's hiring and 2008 promotion.

N.C. State terminated Mary Easley's five-year contract in June, saying state budget cuts had eliminated some of the programs on which she was working. She has appealed the move.

Her job at the university is one of several matters being investigated by a federal grand jury that is looking at Mike Easley's dealings with friends and contributors while in office.