By Mike Linn
A former Eastern New Mexico University student-body president is the center of a tug of war among the state’s most prominent student leaders, some of whom want to strip him of his title as the president of the Associated Students of New Mexico.
Bob Cornelius, ENMU’s student body president last year who now attends the University of New Mexico, claims he was run out of Portales after he lost the student body-election to his fraternity brother Brett Trembly in the spring.
As the lame-duck president at Eastern, he was re-elected as president of ASNM in the spring, much to the dismay of Trembly and a group of his supporters at Eastern.
Associated Students of ENMU cast a vote of no confidence in Cornelius on Oct. 2 at an ASNM meeting in Silver City. The issue was discussed among members of ASNM, then tabled for the next meeting scheduled for Saturday in Las Vegas, N.M.
ASNM is a lobbying group representing students in higher education.
Since Cornelius left ENMU and is not serving in a student-leadership role at UNM, Trembly said it will take a two-thirds vote of ASNM members to keep Cornelius as the association’s president if the issue is voted on.
Cornelius said the vote could be tabled indefinitely.
At the meeting in Silver City, Trembly said student delegates from Western New Mexico University left the meeting, leaving the association without a quorum and unable to vote on whether to keep or oust Cornelius. The WNMU delegates are Cornelius supporters, he said.
Cornelius said ASNM members met outside of the meeting and decided to reconvene the meeting and table the motion.
Trembly would not comment on specific reasons he doesn’t want Cornelius serving as ASNM’s president, but said: “He’s not the type of person I want representing Eastern New Mexico University.”
Cornelius said he believes Trembly has a personal vendetta against him, though both were members of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity at Eastern.
Cornelius said he ran for student-body president at Eastern two years ago, against the wishes of Trembly, and won. Soon after Cornelius’ victory — he said he defeated another Kappa Sigma with whom Trembly supported — he decided to disassociate himself from the fraternity because the bad blood had begun to boil between the two.
Last year Trembly dethroned Cornelius as Eastern’s student-body president.
“We’re not getting anything accomplished (with ASNM) because of this situation that’s been going on. He’s dredging up old issues. He’s not allowing ASNM to do our job because he’s pursuing this vote of no confidence,” Cornelius said.
Trembly isn’t the only Eastern student who wants Cornelius out of office. Student senator Josh Ingram said more than half of ENMU’s student senate would like to see him resign from his position as ASNM president.
Ingram said Cornelius last spring sent a letter to Gov. Bill Richardson on behalf of ASNM without consulting Eastern’s student government. He said he didn’t have a problem with the content of the letter, but wished Cornelius would have consulted the Eastern student government before sending it.
But Ingram, Trembly’s roommate and a Kappa Sigma at Eastern, said he is somewhat biased. He said Cornelius does have supporters at Eastern.
Austen Fulmer, student-body president at New Mexico State University, said he hopes all problems and issues will be ironed out on Saturday.
“I’m planning on getting to the bottom of that (on Saturday). Right now all I’ve heard has been speculation,” he said.