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Dunn to leave YSU for Southern Illinois?

Published: Mon, February 17, 2014 @ 2:02 a.m.






Youngstown State University officials were surprised — and in the dark — Sunday about whether they will lose their president, Randy J. Dunn, to Southern Illinois University after only about seven months on the job.

If Dunn, whom SIU’s student newspaper Daily Egyptian named as the front-runner for SIU’s top job, is picked later today, the YSU Board of Trustees will meet tonight to discuss the situation, said Dr. Sudershan Garg, chairman of the YSU board.

If the story is accurate, said Garg, the board will face a lot of difficult decisions.

YSU would not only lose its president, but two other top administrators, the provost and vice president for finance and administration, who have announced they are leaving, Garg said.

Gene Grilli, vice president for finance and administration, is expected to leave soon; and Ikram Khawaja, provost and vice president for academic affairs, plans to retire June 30.

Garg said he was “surprised” by the story of Dunn applying for the SIU job, but as of Sunday night had not heard from Dunn to verify it.

In any event, Garg said if the SIU board meets today at 2 p.m. CST as reported, SIU’s decision will be known shortly after 3 p.m. EST and the board will know what decisions it has to make.

Former Ohio Sen. Harry Meshel, a member of the YSU board, said Sunday he hoped the story was not true.

Meshel said he “really likes Dunn and the job he is doing,” and said he believes the rest of the board shares his opinion.

“I was very happy with the job he [Dunn] is doing,” Garg agreed.

However, Kayli Plotner, who wrote the story for the Daily Egyptian, said she was confident of her sources.

Ron Cole, manager of news and information services at YSU, said Sunday he contacted Dunn’s chief of staff, Shannon Tirone, who he said is trying to reach Dunn for more information. Cole said he has no information beyond what was in the Daily Egyptian.

Meshel said he attempted to reach Dunn via his cellphone, but got no response. Attempts by The Vindicator to contact Dunn at home were unsuccessful.

According to the Daily Egyptian, SIU President Glenn Poshard’s contract expires June 30, 2014.

Speaking from home, Garg said Dunn is contractually required to give notice, but because he did not have the contract in hand, he was uncertain of how many days notice are required.

Dunn, who has an annual salary at YSU of $375,000, had been president of Murray State University in Kentucky for about six years when YSU tapped him to replace Cynthia E. Anderson as president. Before his contentious exit from Murray State, Dunn served as Illinois state schools superintendent and as a professor at SIU in Carbondale.

He has a doctorate of education from the University of Illinois and master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Illinois State University.

Dunn hasn’t made a comment on his Twitter feed — @YSUPrez — since Feb. 4. Though he’s not a prolific tweeter, that’s the longest span he’s gone without tweeting since the year began.

He also last spoke to The Vindicator on Feb. 4 to discuss filling the top administrative posts.

Named by The Vindicator as “The Person Most Likely to Make an Impact on 2014,” Dunn said in an article published Jan. 1 that stabilizing enrollment was his top goal.

“The outcome of that entire process, of course, is a big deal for what the university looks like and the economic role we play in the Valley,” Dunn said. “It’s why we take that job so seriously.”

But if that growth doesn’t happen, even after “some very strong, good-faith efforts,” the next step is to determine the “right-sizing of the university” — or how to “rework a business model that’s more geared around serving roughly 13,000 students” rather than 14,000 or 15,000 students.

Dunn also said he appreciates the challenge, or “the opportunity as a president to come in and do something that’s powerful — that moves the needle on an area for the better.”

When installed as the university’s eighth president Nov. 13, Dunn referred to the event as “... opening another exciting, transformative chapter of a university.”


1michael1757(486 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

I can understand him wanting to leave for the money,& to go back to where hes comfortable,but him leaving at this stage of his contract is pretty piss poor.He should be required to pay back the money,& then just let go.

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2Shamrock29(20 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Dr. Dunn..you're a creep..pursuing other avenues this early in the game proves to the students and faculty of YSU that you only care about yourself. I hope the board seeks out Jim Tressel, and brings him home.

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3Millerh113(214 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

We are not getting the whole story. Something doesn't smell right.

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4Attis(1117 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

These nomadic bureaucratic academic aristocrats are a dime a dozen. Fire him, and send him packing on a rail out of our hard-pressed town and hurting university which he has unethically used as a short stepping stone to another academic fiefdom. In fact, abolish the office of college President at YSU on this Presidents Day. Neither the office or the occupants have proven themselves worthy.

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5YtownSports(306 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

If he's been negotiating with SIU without notifying YSU, he is classless and unprofessional. YSU should let him go with "good riddance." I would hope YSU would also have some recourse within Dr. Dunn's contract to seek restitution.

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6lovethiscity(169 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Agreed...this is completely classless. Wasn't he a member of the Rotary Club which has a motto of "Service Above Self"?

Nothing could be further from the truth with Dunn. It was all about him, will always be about him.

You got yourselves a real "winner" there SIU. Good luck.

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7pgurney(296 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

If this is all true, I say good riddance to someone I wouldn't trust as far as I could throw him.

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8questionreality(720 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

So much for the "confidentiality" part:


After digesting the machinations of this area, why wouldn't he leave?

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9billdog1(5615 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

First off, Tressel is not qualified to be university president. My God, the man is a jock, not presidential material. Again, he hasn't taken the position and neither university hasn't announced anything as of yet. This may be good for YSU in some twisted way. If the man doesn't want to be here, than we don't need him here. Send him packing and YSU needs to get what they can via their contract if he leaves. This board has just defecated on itself again. Two presidents that were smarter than the collective group of incompetent businessmen. It shows that the board only answers to themselves. What a bunch of crap.

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10walter_sobchak(2631 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

If you mean that the university president must have a doctoral degree, then Tressel is not qualified. If a college president must have a vision for the future of the institution, can organize an administration, lead the organization and get the local private funds rolling in to the coffers, Tressel would be the answer. He knows the area and has numerous contacts. Fundraising is the biggest issue to growing a university. He obviously loves Ohio and would be expected to stay put for a number of years. And, he has dealt with the pressure of handling a large group of diverse individuals at Ohio State while trying to operate inside of a bureaucracy like the NCAA. It is up to the provost to set the curricula. I believe Tressel could handle the job. YSU needs someone with passion for the job and that wants to be here!

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11papa1(711 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

will he have to pay back money he has received from ysu? he surely knew that ysu had problems when he took the job. this is unbelievable.

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12HenryTheBear(23 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

This is a blessing in disguise folks. President Dunn is not very good at what he does. If he does leave it's not a loss to the university, more of an embarrassment. He lacks leadership, vision and talks a lot of talk. I say either way this shakes out the university should rip his contract up out of disrespect to the community, faculty and students of this university for his lack of communication and deception on this topic.

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13HenryTheBear(23 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

It's also worth a mention that President Dunn did not appear at scheduled appearances on campus today for YSU Crash Day, when high school seniors visit the university.

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14uptowngirl(139 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

If this is true, it is unconscionable. I do not care if Dunn has ties to Harvard. YSU was his safe job. Obviously, the trustees are not diligent and competent enough to hire a university president. Considering the vast amount of money spent on the search, Dunn should be forced to pay the search fees back. YSU is a state institution therefore, Dunn is stealing from the taxpayers and students. Tar and feather him before he leaves town --if he is still here.

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15alpheusiam(64 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

The best thing for YSU is to pick the best in house local candidate. While I am not impressed by his ability to be Athletic Director, the best and most loyal candidate for President of YSU is Ron Strollo. He's the best fund raiser, he's dedicated to the University, he's got plenty of management experience, he's not going to leave YSU for greener pastures, he can better influence everything YSU including sports as President, he's bright enough, he's local from head to toe, and he loves the University and the community. I say be done with the stupidity of the board and pick the best choice, I nominate Ron Strollo. Period.

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16DwightK(1531 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Not answering your phone and skipping out on events of Crash Day seems cowardly. Just man up and tell people the truth.

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17paul21045(28 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Tressel had a laudatory history as a coach at YSU. At OSU he violated NCAA rules, lied, cost them a chance to compete for a national title, league title and bowl berth.

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18AtownAugie(873 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

The Art Modell of YSU.

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19Shamrock29(20 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Paul21045..you're a moron. Tressel's program at OSU was systematically dismantled by a bunch of street thugs that had no appreciation for the university, the football program, or the long standing traditions that went along with both. Jim Tressel made no excuses for his actions and took the sanctions that were given to him without projecting blame, or crying foul. He returned to Akron and is flourishing there. YSU will stand idle scratching their heads as usual, and probably hire another stuffed shirt that never even heard of YSU, but just happened to find the job posting on Craigslist.

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20rickking123(330 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Tressel's failure to tell the truth on at least 4 occasions is what did him in. As to him flourishing at Akron, well he did get a fancy made up position with a nifty salary.

As to Dunn I wonder how many of us would turn down a dream position if and when it opened up for us. He tossed his name in the ring and got the job. I say congratulations and best wishes. YSU is bigger than any one President and will go on regardless.

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21boardmanguy2(1 comment)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Ron Strollo? Jim Tressel? If YSU wants to move ahead, they should appoint as Interim President the best internal person right now. The best that has given YSU a good name, raised funds, and has a vision in mind. I'm referring to Martin Abraham, the founding dean of the STEM College.

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22alpheusiam(64 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

In my opinion in Youngstown, the lust for intellectual presidents is not a good or practical match, no offense intellectuals have tunnel vision and closed minds, I like practical people with social skills, intelligence and experience in the assorted fields, when it comes to management and that's what YSU needs not another smartest person in the room.

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