Murray State University’s Board of Regents Chairman Constantine Curris will begin the work of forming a search committee for a new MSU president in the coming weeks. The board voted Friday morning for a second time, 7 to 4, against extending President Randy Dunn a new contract. The second vote came after Kentucky’s Attorney General declared an illegal meeting occurred at social gathering for a majority of regents the night before the board’s first vote.
Prior entertaining a motion for a new vote, Curris outlined the events of the evening at Regent Sharon Green's home. Curris said members present at the gathering discussed the university budget and recommendations from budget planning and review teams that were discussed at a special meeting earlier in the day. Curris said there was discussion as to whether or not the board could enter executive session to vote on Dunn's contract. Curris said an Attorney General's opinion seems to prevent voting on contract extensions in executive session. Following Curris' statement, Regent Susan Guess said she asked a question during the gathering regarding a draft report from an ad-hoc contract review committee. Curris didn't recall Guess' question. Guess' question was in response to the report's depiction of a degrading presidential relationship with the board.
Curris entertained the motion three times before Faculty Regent Renee Fister made a motion for an extension. Regent Jeremiah Johnson was late to the meeting, due to car trouble, and arrived minutes before the vote. During the discussion portion of the motion on renewing Dunn's contract, only those who voted in favor of Dunn provided comment. However, following the vote, Regents Steven Williams and Marilyn Buchanon, who voted against a contract renewal, said they respect all opinions on the board. Williams said all members of the board want what is best for the university.
Moving forward, Chairman Curris will select five regents that will comprise a majority of the nine member committee. Curris, who works as an independent contractor for AGB Search Firm, says the committee has the option of hiring a national search firm. Curris says, to avoid the appearance of impropriety, he would suggest the committee choose a different firm. Curris plans for the board to select a new president by March 2014. Dunn’s current contract expires June 30th 2014.
Dunn, who was a finalist for two presidential positions, today learned he did not receive the top spot at Illinois State University. Dunn is still under consideration for the presidency of Youngstown State University in Ohio.
Board Chairman Constantine Curris says it is too early to discuss whether or not the university will need an interim president and he declined to detail how one could be chosen. Curris said at which time an interim would be necessary, he would discuss the process.