To the Editor:
In light of the recent controversy regarding the future and future funding of the SIU system, and especially President Randy Dunn’s alleged role in directing it, I thought it might be illuminating to take a closer look at his academic history. Wikipedia proved to be a ready source, and Randy’s history is indeed quite interesting.
After a stint at SIU from 1995 to 2004, first as associate professor and then as department chair, Randy was appointed state superintendent of education by our illustrious past governor, Rod Blagojevich. Dunn appeared to show considerable allegiance, hiring Blago-selected individuals for top positions among his first acts in the job.
In May 2006, Randy moved on to accept the presidency at Murray State, where he oversaw marginal enrollment increase in spite of a stated goal of a 20 percent increase over four years. His contract there was ultimately not renewed in 2014, as Murray’s graduation rate, freshman retention and academic ranking all dropped significantly.
In an era where job-hopping is no longer considered unusual, it is also enlightening to note that during his tenure at Murray State, he applied for positions at University of Tennessee, Missouri State, Illinois State and as Florida Education Commissioner, and he ultimately found new work as president of Youngstown State. He was only there for seven months, however, before accepting the job he currently holds, and his departure from Youngstown was evidently not amicable, as his contract with them was voided, and he was ordered to vacate the presidential residence, presumably because he had not even notified the Youngstown Board of his application for the SIU job.
This brings us back to SIU, and the rest of the story can be found in the recent news. At an annual salary of $430,000 (compared to President Trump’s salary of $400,000), I think we should expect better for our money. Dunn’s job history frankly makes one wonder how SIU’s Board of Trustees found him a fit candidate in the first place, but rather than second-guess them, I suggest that the time has come for them to do what Murray State and Youngstown’s boards did — void his contract — for cause.