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Dunn to become president of Southern Illinois University



Published: Tue, February 18, 2014 @ 12:00 a.m.
  Dunn Resigns

YSU President Dr. Randy Dunn resigned today.

YSU President Dr. Randy Dunn resigned today.

By Denise Dick

denise_dick@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

Youngstown State University trustees and Randy J. Dunn, in just his seventh month as university president, publicly appear to be parting amicably.

Dunn is leaving this summer to become president of Southern Illinois University.

SIU trustees announced Monday afternoon that Dunn is that university’s new president. At SIU, Dunn will earn $430,000 annually. His salary at YSU is $375,000 annually.

Dunn told YSU trustees in writing Monday that he will resign effective Aug. 16. If YSU picks a replacement and trustees want him to leave earlier, he will, Dunn said after a 21/2-hour closed-door meeting Monday between Dunn and trustees.

Dunn said that SIU’s search consultant — listed on the university’s website as R. William Funk & Associates of Dallas — contacted him in the middle of fall.

“I didn’t apply per se,” Dunn said.

Initially, he told SIU he had just started a new position and wouldn’t leave, he said. But the consultant contacted him again, telling him there were a number of nominations supporting him.

After the first of the year, the consultant again contacted him, saying it was his charge to have Dunn come talk with him. Dunn sent his information to the consultant.

“I worked at SIU a long time and I felt I had some duty to them,” said Dunn, who worked as a professor at the university before he was tapped by now-imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich in 2004 to become state schools superintendent.

Dr. Sudershan Garg, chairman of the YSU trustees, said the board would meet soon to determine how to proceed in picking a new president.

“The board of trustees recognizes that the position at Southern Illinois is a unique opportunity for Dr. Dunn and his wife, Ronda, to return home to Illinois to continue their careers,” Garg said. “Dr. Dunn has performed exceptionally during his seven months at YSU, and we wish him and Ronda well.”

He said trustees look forward to working with Dunn during the next six months in moving the university forward.

When he took the job, he expected it to be his last, Dunn said.

YSU had spent nearly $109,000 in the search that resulted in Dunn’s appointment. That included visits to campus and lodging for Dunn and the other two presidential finalists and payments to AGB Search, the executive search firm.

Dunn 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.

Earlier in the day, Garg 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,” Garg said. “They came to an amicable solution. I don’t think there were any contract issues.”

Upon Dunn’s selection as YSU president, university officials said his contract was for three years. Under that contract, he was required to give YSU 180 days advanced written notice of his resignation.

Dunn said it was a difficult decision in not informing YSU trustees about his being a finalist for the SIU job, but SIU’s search was “closed and fully confidential.”

Dunn said he realizes that some people may view his leaving YSU as a betrayal, but the SIU position is a unique opportunity. He said he would work the next six months to move YSU forward with some of the initiatives that he started.

Garg said the provision in the presidential contract that allows a president to leave with 180 days’ notice is something the board may consider in future pacts, but he said he doesn’t write the contracts.

“We’ll take it under advisement,” Garg said.

Neither Dunn nor Garg believes Dunn’s short tenure will deter others from applying for the YSU presidency.

“I feel YSU is a capstone job for anyone,” Dunn said.

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,” Garg said.

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.

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.”

Annette Burden, president of the YSU-Ohio Education Association, the union representing YSU faculty, said the universities’ employee unions were surprised and disappointed to learn of Dunn’s departure.

“We have appreciated Dr. Dunn’s willingness to work together and would like to acknowledge the speed at which he often helped to resolve issues that we brought to his attention,” Burden said in a statement. “We would also like to reaffirm our commitment to work together with the administration to rebuild trust, support our students, and support the mission of the university. We will continue to do what we have always done: provide the world-class education that students expect and deserve, perform groundbreaking research, provide the essential support services needed to operate the university, and contribute to the community that supports and depends upon YSU. We trust that this news will not have a negative impact on the upcoming negotiations of two of the unions.”


Comments

1kurtw(1354 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

It's kind of him isn't it? He's going to "work the next six month's to move Y.S.U. ahead with some of the initiatives he started". Now, what would that be: "significantly increased enrollment and raised academic standards" neither of which he was able to accomplish at Murray State after 6 years- which is the reason they were letting him go. The guy has chutzpah if nothing else. And, what the heck, what's another 100 Grand or So- the Taxpayer's can afford it.

I like his statement talking about his move to SIU: "I didn't apply per se." Get that "per se"- sounds like a Weasel Word to me, but then again the guy is a Weasel- so I shouldn't be surprised. Interesting, also, that he was put on to head Illinois Schools by Rod Blago- one of the most corrupt Governors in Illinois History, if that's possible- Seems to fit...

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2mathews99(5 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

Thanks Dr. Dunn, ya showed us what scum looks like...

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3Rooster(78 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

Someone needs to get through to that Garg and the rest of that Board bunch and acquaint them with how these headhunted positions work in the real world. You hire someone with a headhunter fee and you pay their moving expenses and what all, then you put it in their contract if they leave before a year or two, those charges get put back on their side of the tab. Usually, you hold out some calculations until that initial period is over. Course with the taxpayers paying, I guess they don't feel a need to watch the money. You folks are getting mad at the guy who flew the coop and you're forgetting who is to blame for all these head hunter and moving fees and general mismanagement.

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4Spiderlegs(153 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

Not sure how YSU can say that Dunn was the best person for the job given the deliberate dereliction of duty that was reported over the past week. A bigger scandal than Dunn's leaving may be the YSU board's willingness to let a creep like this remain around. Very disappointed in YSU.

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5handymandave(564 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

Nice recruiting job trustees, perhaps next time you can consult bonzo the chimpanzee to help pick your next ysu president. Better yet, cut the salary in half and offer it to everyday people for 7 month stints.

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6lumper(291 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

the guy is leaving for a better job with better pay. anybody at that level would do the same. look at who he had to work with. ysu trustees are morons. it would be hard to be more inept. he probably can't stand the incompetence surrounding him.

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72muchtax(671 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

Get rid of Dunn now, hire tressel if he will come and like it is said above put a 2 or 3 yr contract in
Place that they have a penalty and pay all move expenses back! Local people or faculty should get a very serious look over transplants that are looking to leave the day they show up! Dunn was a complete waste of taxpayer money!

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8HenryTheBear(23 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

I wouldnt let his ass back in this time zone. I cant believe how SOFT the trustees are. But this is what you get when you have a bad hire. Was never impressed with this hire and not surprised how it ended up. This clown is going to speak at my commencement this spring, unbelievable. What a disrespect to me and my family and my classmates and their families and this community if he is at commencement!

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9Millerh113(183 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

What was the Board thinking when they hired a guy whose contract at his previous job was not renewed.

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10RustOnMyBelt(162 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

Is there no honor amoung thieves?Were the trustees truly "blindsided"? Can anyone's research verify that Dr Dunn did in fact say that he hoped to "hit the ground running" here? If so, his mission was accomplished. Cannot wait to hear his stirring speach durng spring commencements!

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11questionreality(524 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

Wow! Not even 9AM and the matter has drawn more comments than deSouza's Sunday column on Belinky and Engler.

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12plwise(8 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

Dunn who?

Where's Lenny Strollo when you need him?

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13NotWhatYouThink(1 comment)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

Folks - don't be fooled. This is the fourth president in four years for YSU. Instead of looking at who is leaving for fault, why don't you look at the Trustees that may be running these individuals away due to a number of reasons. The main reason that comes to mind is micro management by the board of trustees and their penchant of doing things "the Youngstown way". The "Youngstown Way" has driven a once proud and thriving university into the ground, ala the University of Akron. Take the blinders off...4 presidents in 4 years.

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14petethepenguin(16 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

Dunn is Done !

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15Notorious_Pig(117 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

I am surely in the minority here, but I am sure that each and every one of you would've made this change, too. He is going to be the prez of a school that is more than double the size and has a much better academic reputation. This is his stepping stone to bigger and better things. If he stayed at YSU and all its' insecurities, he wouldn't have the opportunities in the future, I'm afraid. Yes, he handled this very poorly, but you can't blame the guy for wanting to go somewhere bigger and better. I graduated from SIU in '95 and I will be the first to tell you that it is much nicer than YSU. The facilities, the area, and the opportunities are all much better than YSU. Can't blame HIM, but you can blame the Board of Trustees for letting him "hang out" for 6 more months. If he wants to go, then make sure he goes now. If he stayes, he will just continue to be a "no-show", just like he was this past weekend.

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16susiecommenter(1 comment)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

What a circus. I'd have loved to have been a fly on the wall at the meeting last night. There must be more to the story than the public knows. At least, I certainly hope there is. Why the trustees didn't dump this dude is beyond me. He will obviously be a worthless expense for the university for the next 6 months. And, as other commenters have sagely noted, he will be prepping for his new job on YSU's dime.

His comments about being pursued by SIU are pretty rich. Isn't his first "duty" to fulfill his contract to YSU? It is understandable that he would prefer his new position from both professional and personal standpoints, but the fact remains, this guy's word isn't worth donkey dung. He's practically playing the victim card -- oh, I tried to resist SIU's advances, but they just came on too strong! Pathetic.

Here's a message to the board from a proud graduate and donor -- get rid of him! You won't see any more contributions from me until you do.

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17Attis(1010 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

The decision by the BOT to keep this scoundrel on the public payroll for another six months is a slap in the face to taxpayers. Trustees with any integrity would have fired the bum on the spot and initiated legal proceeding against him for breach of contract/trust. The fact that this moronic, spineless BOT failed to do so, makes one think there is corruption involved. Come clean trustees: tell us what the kickback was and then resign in shame.

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18walter_sobchak(2246 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

“I worked at SIU a long time and I felt I had some duty to them,” said Dunn, who worked as a professor at the university before he was tapped by now-imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich in 2004 to become state schools superintendent.

What about your duty to YSU since you signed a 3 year contract? I'm sure you gave the trustees some assurances of a "vision" for the future of the university. Did you give your current spouse similar assurances when you married her? Or, when a Sophia Vergara comes bouncing by you are you going to tell your wife you have some duty to your little head? The only thing more disgusting is that the trustees are keeping you in this position for which you obviously have no use or desire. I would think that once the large university benefactors express their opinions to the trustees, he will be given a cab ride to the edge of town.

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19oneton(5 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

How does someone get fired from one job for not doing a good job, get a fat contract with no consequences at another and finally land a fatter contract at yet another?

I feel YSU and SIU could each do better.

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20Rooster(78 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

That "per se" part of this scamp's explanation is the best part. Isn't that the 2nd YSU contract or the 3rd that didn't have a minimum service period without a payback on those recruitment and moving expenses? These Board numbskulls need to take a YSU business class. Strange how the Board is so understanding - I have to figure they're just hoping he'll return the favor and not talk about their incompetence - which sure didn't take him long to figure out and pounce on. Our problem is that we're still stuck with the yahoo's that pass out all this hiring money like it was candy, without nailing down a commitment period. Surely, just to show some kind of pride, just to keep our heads up for the next round, can't this board do without this scamp for a few months? At least try to muster some kind of managerial life sign, for pity sakes folks!! Also, isn't that new Enrollment VP Swegan commuting from his old digs? Didn't even move here. That Board sure doesn't expect much commitment for their paychecks.

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21DwightK(1384 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

Keep him on for 6 months and relocate his office to the basement of Cushwa. Also, any perks not listed in his contract should be gone including reserved parking spaces, free meals and an experienced administrative assistant.

There's no reason this has to be a pleasant 6 months.

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22Millerh113(183 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

Garg, Meshel, et al are a disgrace to their positions. The bungled this hiring job and now we are going to trust them with another. What could possibly go wrong?... Take Mr. Dunn with his dime-a-dozen doctorate of education degree to the Ohio Turnpike and bid him a fond adieu. ( No PhD thinks much of an Ed.D.)

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23redeye1(5158 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

Just another example of the liberturds who have ruin this valley and now YSU. They have given this guy a paycheck for the next 6 months knowing full well he isn't going to do a damn thing for YSU. They just don't give a damn how they spend the students tuition money , now do they? It's time for the whole BOT to get removed now !!!!!!!!!!

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24wastepro(47 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

The Trustees need to do a better job with the contract. This guy has no class at all. he never stopped looking

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25Seriouslee(144 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

Ugh. Dunn handled this poorly, but there is much more to the story that will likely never get out. The leadership of the Board of Trustees is a disaster and everyone knows it. They micro-manage, know nothing about higher education and believe the answer to everything is cuts, cuts, cuts. The last search committee was made up entirely of the Board of Trustees which is NOT the norm in a presidential search. Dunn was unhappy as soon as he got here and at one of his first speeches to new hires at the university basically apologized to them for landing at YSU. He started looking as soon as he arrived--why? terrible Board of Trustees, terrible facilities, and no hope for any real change. Now the BOT will keep Dunn so that he can be the heavy hand in negotiations with no repercussions. And the Board will again be the search committee! Abandon all Hope.

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26uptowngirl(126 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

This is a slap in the face to Youngstown and YSU. Leaving for a better job after 7 months is unprofessional. I think that the university should get a small desk and sit him in the lobby next to the greeter for the next six months. His title can be "Trustee's folly". He can remove the snow and sweep the grass clippings. Knowing that the "job of your dreams" is opening up in less than a year and taking any job just to have a paycheck is opportunistic.

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27Ridiculous(3 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

Yes its unprofessional and yes it reflects badly on both parties but worse for YSU! Look clearly there's not as many people that "believe in this valley" anymore and this was but one of the ways this has been demonstrated recently. The Youngstown way is dead and needs to be packed away. Youngstown and YSU have' kept it in the family entirely too long. There's only a few explanations here...He wanted to shake things up and the BOT wanted the status quo, or he got here and decided the golden wrapped package he was promised, contained a fecal sandwich and he got out of dodge. Either way it doesn't make Youngstown look any good. And certainly letting the man stay in your guesthouse, after hes crapped on the rug, is the epitome of helpless and left behind. New blood is a must. Hiring Tressel would be the very zenith of keeping it in the family, and is the last thing Youngstown needs. Penn State was able to seclude themselves because they had money and influence, and look at how that turned out. We have neither, lets try a different tactic.

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28endthismess(405 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

Send this carpetbagger out of here. Folks, he never stopped looking for another job when he arrived and... he was not the first choice either. Also, he never stopped looking while he was at his last job. This carpetbagger has a large problem with one word...commitment. Apparently he has an OCD attached to constantly looking for work. DUMP HIM NOW and cut all losses. Who wants this vocational runaway on payroll...now. Who can trust him or anything he has to say. GO.

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29Aware(247 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

End and Lost have it right. The guy was a mistake. He was unimpressive right from the start! We need to go with the 'believing in this Valley'....Yes we do! No outsiders!!! This BOT rots - we do not need to get headhunters to do the job that our own area has absolute talent to undertake. Hire from within and get a new board in place....start fresh! We need emphasis to STEM...that is the future of YSU. Our new enhanced emphasis in the Ph.D. Program in Materials Science demands someone from within who can nurture the efforts of the people within the University who have worked so hard! We do NOT need a sports person to take over. I can name one individual who is far and above anyone - I would strongly recommend Dr. Daryl Mincey for the position. This gentleman is more "YSU" than anyone imaginable. If YSU passes on him for consideration and opts for an outsider, they are fools. He has the talent, loyalty and yes...'sports' in his heart 24/7. He is a fine candidate. I have no reason to support him but for my sincere respect. Thank you.

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30handymandave(564 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

The best was yesterday when I heard Garg say that he hoped the recruiting agency that found Dunn would find another candidate for YSU for free. Yep, I imagine they'll be all over that idea.

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31HSG(171 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

What is needed is a new board of trustees. The current one failed miserably in the most important hire of the past five years.

What is not needed is a football coach, locally lionized but nationally disgraced, posing as leader of an academic institution.

Several posters make valid comments about the community at large.

Sadly, not all that much to discuss on that front, but hey, the trustees voted to increase tuition, that is newsworthy!

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32handymandave(564 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

Is garg part chimpanzee or am i imagining it? i can't look at his face without thinking it.

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