Interim president among YSU trustees’ options

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

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