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Interim president among YSU trustees’ options

Published: Sat, February 22, 2014 @ 12:10 a.m.

Move would enable Dunn to leave earlier

By Denise Dick



Among options being considered by Youngstown State University trustees is selection of an interim president, which would allow a quicker exit for the outgoing Randy J. Dunn.

“Nothing is determined until it’s been determined,” said Dr. Sudershan Garg, chairman of the YSU Board of Trustees.

The board could opt to have its search firm look for an interim candidate as well as a permanent president.

“If we get an interim, it could possibly be someone in-house or from outside,” Garg said. “There are a lot of former [university] presidents who are looking for work, and many of them are young.”

Dunn stunned trustees and many at the university and in the surrounding community this week when he announced he had accepted the presidency at Southern Illinois University after only seven months at YSU. Dunn’s resignation is effective Aug. 16, although he could leave sooner if the board selects a replacement before that time.

Garg stopped short of saying board members wanted Dunn to leave earlier.

“The board does feel he’s very uncomfortable in the position he’s in,” he said.

Some board members wonder whether Dunn can do an effective job if he’s uncomfortable, the board chairman said.

“He’s a lame-duck president, so we have to see how this thing evolves over the next couple of weeks — if something is being done or whether people are not listening,” Garg said. “We have to prepare ourselves for every possible thing.”

Dunn was absent this week from at least two events where he had been scheduled to speak. He was a no-show Monday at Crash Day, YSU’s recruiting event for prospective students; and didn’t attend the Penguin Club’s Annual Scholarship Ring Banquet on Tuesday.

Dunn participated, though, in committee meetings with trustees Tuesday and Thursday.

While trustees continue to weigh options, more people are joining the call for Jim Tressel, former YSU and Ohio State University football coach, to be named the next YSU president.

Mahoning County commissioners said at their meeting Friday that they support such a move.

Trumbull County commissioners passed a resolution Thursday and wrote a letter to university trustees supporting Tressel’s appointment.

David Ditzler, chairman of the Mahoning County commissioners, said the university should not even waste its time with a search.

“All they have to do is offer the job to Jim Tressel,” Ditzler said. “You couldn’t find a better advocate.”

Commissioner Carol Rimedio-Righetti said she wants Tressel on board, too.

“He would be the best advocate for the tri-county area,” Rimedio-Righetti said. “He’s a hometown guy. I hope they consider him.”

On Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Howland, D-13th, sent a letter to trustees signed by 31 business and union leaders urging trustees to appoint Tressel to the presidency.

Tressel, executive vice president of student success at the University of Akron, hasn’t said publicly whether he’s interested in the job. He’s also been touted as a possible contender for president of the University of Akron.

Tressel, who led both the YSU and OSU teams to national championships, resigned the OSU job in May 2011 amid a scandal involving players receiving cash and tattoos for memorabilia. He was accused of withholding information from university officials and National Collegiate Athletic Association investigators.

As part of his punishment from the NCAA, Tressel is prohibited from having direct involvement with a school’s athletic department until December 2016.

Contributor: Vindicator staff writer Joe Gorman


1formerdemliberal(182 comments)posted 7 months ago

More hilarious Gargisms:
1. “If we get an interim, it could possibly be someone in-house or from outside”

Wasn't Dunn an interim president?

2. “There are a lot of former [university] presidents who are looking for work...”

I've read so many stories about former university presidents on food stamps. Maybe the board can hire one for minimum wage?

3. “The board does feel he’s very uncomfortable in the position he’s in”

Of course, the board and Dunn collaborated to create his "uncomfortable" situation by permitting his six-month working vacation upon his SIU announcement.

4. “He’s a lame-duck president, so we have to see...if people are not listening”

YSU faculty and staff response to Dunn for the next 6 months, "ZZZZZ."

Once again, Dr. Garg, either shut up or resign from the board. Nearly every time you have opened your mouth in the past year, something naive or incompetent flies out.

"He was a no-show Monday at Crash Day, YSU’s recruiting event for prospective students; and didn’t attend the Penguin Club’s Annual Scholarship Ring Banquet on Tuesday. Dunn participated, though, in committee meetings with trustees Tuesday and Thursday."

So Dunn had the time to cushy up with his board buddies last Tuesday but no guts to face the music from his resignation with prospective students, and at a student scholar/alumni donor dinner on the same day as his meeting with the trustees. Cowardice and an insult to YSU alumni and scholars, but Dunn stays on.

Time for members of the alumni association board to throw their wealthy weight around and ask all YSU alumni to shut off the donation faucet until Dunn voluntarily leaves or is fired with cause. Call Dunn's bluff and see if the coward has the courage to sue the university for breach of contract. Students are meaningless to the board, but money always talks.

"David Ditzler, chairman of the Mahoning County commissioners, said the university should not even waste its time with a search."

Standard Mahoning County government hiring procedure. Will Tressel get the county Democratic Party's endorsement for YSU president at Commissar Betrus's gala Saturday morning?

“He’s a hometown guy." (Carol Rimedio-Righetti).

Uh, Carol and the Tressel 32. How is Jimbo a "hometown guy"? Many people know that Jim grew up in the Cleveland area, played football for his daddy at Baldwin-Wallace in Berea, and coached at Ohio State until coming to YSU in 1984 in his early 30s. He's spent about 1/4 of his life in Youngstown. Stop showing your ignorance by watching ESPN specials. He's NOT a hometown guy!

Received the latest edition of the YSU Alumni Magazine today. Really enjoyed Dunn's full-page letter mentioning the "obstacles" in front of YSU while begging alumni for more money. Talk about bad timing. Nice mailing blunder by the university's PR staff.

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2handymandave(474 comments)posted 7 months ago

There's probably no less than a thousand qualified people to take on the president of YSU's job. The first person alot of people thought about here was Tressel. He was undoubtedly a great coach but that does not make qualified for this job. It would be nice to see it go to someone who really wants to be here, can stand up to the board and handle the job, and actually needs the salary.

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3theotherside(333 comments)posted 7 months ago

No doubt Jim Tressel was a great coach and teacher. He was an effective teacher for his students and an effective PR man for his programs. That does not qualify someone to be a great administrator. Effective PR means telling people what they want to hear so they agree with you. Being an effective administrator is often about telling people what they don't want to hear with the expectation that they have to listen or be insubordinate. That doesn't fit Jim Tressel's mold. As for YSU donations, this alum's wallet is closed until Dunn is gone. That's the only way to send the message to the BOT.

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4topsailwatch(64 comments)posted 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Institutions no longer need a president in the old sense of academia.

University presidents should have their degree in business administration. They are, after all, running a large "corporation". They have to deal with fund raising, unions, budgets, etc. As far as curriculum is concerned they have provosts and deans for every specialty to handle that.

Lets hire a proven business CEO that can run "YSU Company". Jim Tressel is a unique individual. I don't know if he's the answer, but I would bet that he would do a better job than Anderson, Cochran and Sweet. They were all mediocre at best.

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5alpheusiam(64 comments)posted 6 months, 4 weeks ago

While I believe from a fundraising perspective, a 'Personality' appeal and the strong presence that Tressel would be a good choice, I personally doubt he will take the step 'back' to YSU. If he wanted to be here, he already would be here. Which is why I favor Ron Strollo, he's here, he'd stay here, he's far better qualified as President considering he's an accountant with years of experience from student relations, facilities and fundraising, he carries in his tool bag every tool needed to be President. However, I have this to say to the signers of the letter,
If you want Tressel, you can have Tressel and here's how:
Reach for your check books, and each write a check sufficient when combined to accomplish a 5 year total for the entire salary Tressel would require and then add to it the amount required to cause the Board to reverse the just announced 2.4% tuition increase just placed on YSU students and make sure it's enough to guarantee no tuition increases will occur for that 5 years of Tressel's contract. I figure if you pay Tressel $500,000. and come up with around 1.5 to 2 million a year to defer the tuition increase the most it could be is 10 to 12 million dollars, so if you monied well wishers and do gooders want Tressel as the best thing for YSU then the logical next best thing is to endow the University with the 12 million and you'll get what you want. Sounds like Ron Strollo is making more sense, or break out those checkbooks. Period. Oh yeah and you better get the deal in writing from the board.

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6alpheusiam(64 comments)posted 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Sauer 500k
Sweeney 500k
Debartolo 500k
Muransky 500k
Reese 500k
Zolden 500k
Cafaro 500k
Bruno 500k
Saadey 500k
Masternick 500k
Jaworski 500k
Johnson 500k
Covelli 500k
Kohli 500k
There's $7 million from those I think can afford it and if you add the $5.00 Tim Ryan puts in you'll only need an about $312,000 from the remaining signers.

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7Attis(879 comments)posted 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Instead of just pouring a few hundred grand of public money on a dead duck Prez through mid-August, this BOT actually is willing to pour another few hundred grand on a second Prez, an interim one, at the same time. They should be charged with theft, but won't get convicted because of obvious insanity.

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8alpheusiam(64 comments)posted 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Another thought on a more serious note: Has anyone considered that by the nature of Tressel's NCAA suspension that he could never accept a Presidency of an NCAA sanctioned University. How do you separate a President from sports related contract approval, student athlete discipline, athletic budgets, athlete crime, athletic facility improvements and budgets, sports boosting and fundraising, sports endowment management and expenditures, even his appearance as to influencing anything sports would perhaps be a violation of his suspension. I do not believe anyone has considered this. A University president can't possibly be separated from sports even doing his job at a minimum. Let alone Tressel. This is a major question and the best person to ask on campus would be of all people: Ron Strollo. Tressel is not going to poke the NCAA this close to the end of his suspension, so the monied signers of the draft proposal had better have done their homework and found a reach around or instead of being leaders they will end up setting a goal to high and a fall too far for another let down for the valley and YSU. The unexpected consequences of acting before thinking, because you always think you're right. The only reason these people want Tressel is about his sports legend and persona, it's perhaps more so an unwanted cult of personality, how do you separate that from the Presidency and an NCAA suspension. I'm asking, have they? Tressel won't bite, nor should he if I'm right and this is not guaranteed to be resolved. If I'm Tressel, I don't want anybody risking my suspension terms and making it worse. Perhaps Tim Ryan and his $5 and a congressional resolution will be all that's needed. If Tressel is a no go, which second best candidate is going come in feeling like the #1 choice?

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9papa1(662 comments)posted 6 months, 4 weeks ago

if tressel wanted the job he would apply for it. he's not interested. wake up people. it's that simple. he's moved on.

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