LAS CRUCES, N.M. — The New Mexico State University Board of Regents voted to move forward with the search to replace Chancellor Garrey Carruthers despite widespread support from faculty, staff, students and state lawmakers.

The board voted Wednesday to replace Carruthers after his contract ends in mid-2018. Public pressure had built for the regents to offer him a contract extension after a number of groups and Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima had stated support for Carruthers.

William Jones, a student senator, told regents student leaders are concerned about the number of presidents in recent years, five in the past decade.

“I think we should hang on to Garrey Carruthers as long as possible,” he said.

The support was not enough to persuade a majority of regents, who chalked up their decision to waning student enrollment and other lagging performance metrics at the university.

The 78-year-old Carruthers said earlier he would be willing to stay on another two years, but the board rejected.

“The board has expressed ongoing concern about significant enrollment lost,” said Regents Chairwoman Debra Hicks, noting enrollment is down 27 percent, three times as much as at the University of New Mexico.

Carruthers, who has served as chancellor since 2013, announced he planned to retire July 2018, triggering the search for a replacement. The chancellor said he made the decision after regents told him they would not extend his contract, which expires next spring.