YOUNGSTOWN — Randy J. Dunn, who served seven months as Youngstown State University president, reportedly is leaving to become president of Southern Illinois University.
The university’s student newspaper reported this afternoon that the SIU trustees announced Dunn is that university’s new president.
Dr. Sudershan Garg, chairman of the YSU trustees, said this morning that he hadn’t spoken with Dunn since news broke Sunday of his pending appointment to the SIU job.
“It’s very hard to say what we will decide,” Dr. Garg said. “We’ll have to talk to the search consultant.”
He wasn’t aware that Dunn was unhappy and Dunn hadn’t made the board aware of problems nor any sticking points during the negotiation of his contract.
“The contract was decided by attorneys,” Dr. Garg said. “They came to an amicable solution. I don’t think there were any contract issues.”
Dunn who didn’t attend this morning’s Crash Day, a recruitment event for prospective students at the campus, and Ron Cole, YSU spokesman, said Dunn was working from the Pollock House, the university-owned presidential residence.
Upon Dunn’s selection as YSU president, university officials said his contract was for three years. But according to Dunn’s contract, signed last June by Dunn and trustees, the university can terminate Dunn’s contract at any time without cause upon a majority vote of the board.
Dunn may terminate the agreement at any time by giving 180 days advance notice unless that notice is waived by the university.
Officials at YSU said they were stunned when they learned of his imminent departure Sunday from SIU’s student newspaper, the Daily Egyptian, which reported Dunn was the front-runner for SIU’s top job.
The YSU Board of Trustees will meet at 6 p.m. today in their meeting room in the first floor of Tod Hall. The topic of the meeting will be “presidential employment,” Cole said.
Dr. Garg said Dunn’s departure means the board will face a lot of difficult decisions.
YSU is not only losing 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.
“I think we’ll have a tough time, but in tough times you come out with something better,” Dr. Garg said.
According to the Daily Egyptian, SIU President Glenn Poshard’s contract expires June 30, 2014.
SIU’s total enrollment, including part-time students, is about 30,000 students and it also includes a medical and a dental school. YSU’s fall enrollment was 13,381.
While some students hanging around campus Monday morning between campus were unaware of the news, Michael Slavens, vice president of the Student Government Association, met Dunn at meetings the president conducted with the SGA and will be sad to see him go
“I think he has a great personality,” Slavens said.
It’s a sad situation, he said.
“I think it’s unfortunate,” Slavens said. “We’ll see what happens. I really did like the guy.”
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.