New Mexico State University Draws Fire for Trying Fire Congressional Candidate Gavin Clarkson (Choctaw)

Gavin Clarkston

Published March 1, 2018

LAS CRUCES, NEW MEXICO – Four days after announcing his candidacy for the Republican nomination for the U.S. House in New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District, Dr. Gavin Clarkson, a business-law professor at New Mexico State University, was told that his leave of absence had been revoked and his employment would be terminated should he not return to work four days later.

An enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation, Gavin Clarkson resigned his post as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Economic Development — Indian Affairs in President Trump’s Department of the Interior on December 29th, 2017 to launch his campaign for Congress.

According to an article published Sunday, February 25, 2018 by The Daily Caller, “New Mexico State approved Clarkson’s request for an unpaid leave of absence until January 2020 on June 28. In its reply, the university does not explicitly state the professor’s leave of absence hinges on his employment at the Department of the Interior.”

NMSU provost Daniel J. Howard did not explain why the revocation of leave occurred January 8th, just four days before the start of the semester. Although teaching loads had been already been assigned and students had completed class registration, Clarkson offered to teach while still on unpaid leave.

“The letter granting my leave did not specify that the leave was contingent on anything or subject to revocation,” Clarkson said.

According to NMSU’s own written rule (ARP 8-53-G), “All conditions of a faculty member’s leave, including any specifics of the faculty member’s return to the campus, must be in writing according to university policy,” Clarkson continued. “The rule of law applies even to partisan Democrats, even if they don’t like it.”

In addition to holding both a BA and an MBA from Rice University, Clarkson is a cum laude graduate of the Harvard Law School where he was president of the Native American Law Students Association, a member of the Federalist Society, and the first tribal member to earn a doctorate from the Harvard Business School.

Named the nation’s “leading scholar in tribal finance” by The Financial Times, Clarkson has been cited by Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal, and USA Today on matters of tribal finance, economic development, and federal Indian law, subjects he has taught at the University of Michigan, the University of Montana, the University of Houston, and New Mexico State University.

New Mexico’s Republican primary election will take place June 5th.

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