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Dunn out at YSU March 21, with no further pay

Published: Thu, March 6, 2014 @ 12:10 a.m.


Randy J. Dunn, outgoing Youngstown State University president, and Dr. Sudershan Garg, chairman of the YSU trustees, head into an executive session Wednesday where an amendment to Dunn’s contract will allow him to leave YSU on March 21.




Youngstown State University’s shortest-serving president will leave the university after the close of business March 21, collecting pay through that date.

Randy J. Dunn, president since July, is leaving for the presidency of Southern Illinois University. His contract called for him to give six months’ notice, which Dunn did Feb. 17, making the effective date of his resignation Aug. 16.

But under an amendment approved by university trustees and agreed to by Dunn Wednesday, that requirement is waived.

“We need to move forward and put this chapter behind us,” said Dr. Sudershan Garg, trustee chairman.

Dunn and his wife have 30 days after he leaves office to move out of Pollock House, the university-owned presidential mansion on Wick Avenue.

Dunn will return his YSU-leased car March 21. The university will pay the monthly employer cost for continuing health care coverage under COBRA minus the employee’s share, about $1,459 per month, from April through June, unless he becomes eligible for other coverage before then.

Dunn will be eligible to receive payment for unused vacation time but won’t be paid for sick time accumulation.

He won’t receive payment for any other benefits.

Ikram Khawaja, provost and vice president for academic affairs, who’s worked at YSU since 1968, will become interim president after Dunn leaves, and as part of the agreement, Dunn agrees to cooperate with trustees to provide a transition memo “describing any urgent and important matters requiring the attention of the president’s office or the president within the following 30 days.”

Khawaja, who also served as interim president between the retirement of former President Cynthia E. Anderson and Dunn’s arrival, plans to retire June 30.

The university has hired AGB Search of Washington, D.C., the same search firm that led the search that found Dunn, conduct a search for a new president. Trustees hope to have a new president in place by the time Khawaja retires.

Because Dunn left within a year, the search firm is waiving its fee, although YSU must still pay for expenses.

Earlier Wednesday, the university’s Academic Senate, a body composed of faculty as well as some administrators and students, passed a resolution recommending that the search committee for the new president include more faculty. Specifically, they want the panel to include a faculty representative from each college, a graduate student and an undergraduate student.

During the last search, the search firm presented the search committee with a list of names which committee members then narrowed to a smaller group to be interviewed.

A search for a new provost is also underway but won’t be completed until a new president is selected, allowing that input in the decision.

News of Dunn’s departure came as a shock last month when trustees first learned of it through an SIU student newspaper report.

Dunn’s four-year SIU contract reportedly includes a provision that if he leaves that job within 3 1/2 years, he must pay that university $250,000.

His YSU contract, although touted at the time of his hiring as a three-year deal, allowed the board to terminate his employment at any time with a majority vote and continue to pay him for a year.

Dr. Garg said a penalty for leaving the university early is something that could be negotiated between attorneys in a new president’s contract, but he said that’s not something that’s being discussed.

Since the announcement of Dunn’s departure, supporters of Jim Tressel have been peppering trustees with letters, advising of their support for the former YSU and Ohio State University head football coach as the new YSU president. The Curbstone Coaches, an organization that supports Mahoning Valley sports, is the latest group to back him.

“The university would experience more growth and stability with Jim’s leadership capabilities,” Joseph Maxin, the group’s president, wrote in a Feb. 26 letter to Dr. Garg.


1Attis(1134 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

Finally a bit of reason prevails in this mess created in large part by the same group of decision makers who now intend to go through the same process which resulted in this terrible choice for Prez. That needs to change. At the very least, a new search committee, as proposed by YSU faculty, needs to be established. But why begin a new search process? Were there not at least three finalists brought to YSU for extensive interviews in the last round? Why not save public funds and a whole lot of unnecessary consternation and just announce the #2 candidate then as the new Prez?

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2lovethiscity(169 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

An equally horrible choice for YSU President was Cynthia Anderson. The university was absolutely on "cruise control" during her three years in office. Not one single, let me repeat that, not one single university advancement can be placed to her credit.

Add the year of search before her appointment, the months of search after she left, and Dunn's "space walk"....YSU has been absolutely leaderless FOR OVER FIVE YEARS.

And the blame can only be placed on the most inept Board of Trustees in the the country. Honestly, when Garg gets in front of a camera, I can only hang my head in shame for all the really good things happening in Youngstown outside of what has become "the joke on the hill."

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3walter_sobchak(2713 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

No doubt that Dr. Anderson's appointment as YSU president was a pure money grab on her part to pad her pension. Of course, she was the popular choice of the staff of YSU because she would maintain status quo and not change staffing levels, pay, or benefits. In other words, make the tough choices. The YSU BOT has been plagued by a number of questionable appointments by past Gov's Taft and Strickland. I have no problem with Harry Meshel but Strickland's other appts. are highly questionable as to their community status to be qualified to make the BUSINESS decisions that need to made.

The university needs to go on another capital campaign to get a new facility for the STEM college. The current digs are outdated and need to be brought into the 21st century. This is going to be expensive and the next president is going to have to have great community ties to be able to lean on the business people of the area. This is going to take someone with stature to be able to go to the exec's of the oil and gas companies that are active in the area along with those companies that can profit off of the America Makes concern. The choice of Jim Tressel as president to do this is obvious. That is what the open letter to the YSU BOT was all about and why so many big names signed on to it.

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4Seriouslee(149 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

Walter, respectfully disagree. I suspect Anderson didn't accomplish much because she was hamstrung by a micro-managing BOT (Kasich appointees) whose only 'strategy' is cut, cut, cut. And Anderson was president during the contract negotiations that resulted in significant pay cuts for faculty and staff. Now, these rocket scientists are publicly asking Tressel to apply which is incredibly unprofessional and unethical. Think about this--what decent candidate is going to apply knowing the search is already skewed for Tressel? What happens when Tressel turns it down for the Akron job, which is what he's really angling for? You will be left third rate candidates the BOT made finalists fully hoping to rig the search in favor of Jimbo.

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5walter_sobchak(2713 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

You make valid points, especially about making so much noise regarding Tressel. As far as the BOT micro-managing and cutting, state funding to all state universities has been cut for many years, not just under John Kasich. It is the legislature that controls the purse strings. I like Kasich but definitely don't agree with his animosity toward public education. This charter school crap has gotten out of hand. However, it is the board that needs to steer the university and that means "rightsizing" it.

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6Westsider(269 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

I'll bet they are already packed. At least YSU won't have to work under a lame duck president until August - however, the collateral damage caused by what turned out to be interim and non-committed leadership will remain for quite awhile. I also wouldn't be so quick to anoint Jim Tressel.

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7RustOnMyBelt(172 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

"...passed a resolution recommending that the search committee for the new president include more faculty. Specifically, they want the panel to include a faculty representative from each college,' Because no one is worth their salt unless they hold a Doctorate..like Dr.Warren Buffet,Dr.Bill Gates,,Dr.Steve Jobs and Dr.Cynthia Anderson who stayed there just long enough to pad her pension and leave.Did I mention Dr.Aristotle or Dr Plato?

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8pgurney(296 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

So, they're paying his healthcare through June, and unused vacation time? He's been there only 7 months! Why in the world should they pay him ANY unused vacation time??

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9pulaskifarm(26 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

Have security show Mr. Dunn the door.
May extraordinary inconstancy frequent his mind.

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10sscavel(26 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

Same old y-town mentality. You'd think the university would set a higher standard for the area. Thank God I'm out of that good-old-boy crap town!!! And you wonder why all the kids leave the area after high school!!!

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