Dunn named Southern Illinois University president

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — The Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees announced Monday afternoon that Youngstown State University President Randy Dunn will be their next president.

Dunn replaces previous SIU president Glenn Poshard.

“Looking forward, (SIU-Edwardsville) awaits the new opportunities that occur with new leadership,” said SIUE Chancellor Julie Furst-Bowe in a release from the SIU marketing department. “We are confident that Dr. Dunn’s experience, dedication and innovative spirit will continue to push SIUE to greater heights.”

YSU hired Dunn as president in May 2013, and he officially took over the post from Cynthia Anderson July 15. His salary was set at $375,000. Before the YSU job, Dunn was the president of Murray State University in Murray, Ky.

Dunn worked at SIU from 1995 to 2004 and became the superintendent of education for the Illinois State Board of Education.

The candidate search that resulted in Dunn’s hiring cost the university more than $108,000 according to documents given to WKBN by YSU Public Information Officer Ron Cole.

Dunn was the eighth president in school history.

Dunn was a no-show at YSU’s Crash Day on Monday, a day for prospective students to experience life on campus. Dunn was scheduled to speak at 9 a.m.

News of Dunn’s departure caught many on campus completely off guard Monday, but none more so than the students and staff of the university newspaper.

Editors with “The Jambar” found out the same way many others in the University community did, which was by reading a report online from Southern Illinois University.
The students with the paper said they had had a good relationship with the President from when he first started on campus last July, and saying from the very beginning of his tenure, Dunn kept the lines of communication open.

“I think that was a big selling point for us. That he really stressed the being transparent part and then he sort of proved that in those first few months by always getting back to us quickly,” said Jambar managing editor Josh Medore.

Jambar editor Cassandra Twoey said she remembers Dunn saying in his welcome letter, which was published in the paper, that YSU was not a stepping stone and would be his final stop.

“He said he was going to be sticking around for a couple of years,” Twoey said.

However, the students said things changed significantly about a week ago when they were no longer able to contact him. They said they were never able to reach Dunn to confirm the story out of Southern Illinois, adding they realized Monday morning Dunn had even taken down his local page on Facebook.

Dunn was installed as YSU’s eighth president in November, which is the same month trustees at Southern Illinois started looking for their own new leader. But information we obtained from Murray State University, where Dunn worked before coming to Youngstown, sheds some light on why he was let go there.

The report issued by a special committee suggests Dunn’s relationship with the Board of Trustees had deteriorated over his last year “from insensitivity to disrepect.” Officials claim Dunn failed to tell them he had applied for a number of other jobs, charging the way he handled his candidacy for those positions “impacted the trust relationship” between them.

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