Murray State’s Board of Regents has voted 7 to 4 against extending President Randy Dunn’s contract. The decision comes despite the letters of support for Dunn from the school’s faculty senate and staff congress, as well as 27 west Kentucky school superintendents.
The vote came as a surprise, because the report from an ad-hoc committee to review the president's contract lasted less than one minute and included only one action item, approving minutes from the committee's first meeting in February.
The regents voting to extend Dunn's contract were Faculty Regent Jack Rose, Staff Regent Phil Schooley, Susan Guess, and Jenny Sewell.
Voting against the contract extension were Constantine Curris, Marilyn Buchanon, Sharon Green, Jeremiah Johnson, Jerry Sue Thornton, Harry Lee Waterfield II, and Stephen Williams.
Prior to making a motion to extend Dunn's contract, Faculty Regent Jack Rose asked, "Did I miss something," insinuating he didn't think the board was ready to vote on the issue.
Jack Rose has told WKMS that he has now resigned from the board of regents. He says he has "concerns about the direction the board is heading." Rose declined further comment on the issue.
Following the vote Dunn made a brief statement that he does maintain a full professorship within MSU's college of education and could assume that position when his contract expires June 2014.
After the meeting Curris said each board member made their own decision based on their own opinions. He told the board he would vote with the majority. He also said through, if he had to cast a tie breaking vote, he would have voted no. Curris said his vote hinged on the board being split saying, "A president or university can't function well if the President doesn't have a strong majority of his board."
Curris also addressed speculation of bringing in another member of the Alexander family to serve as MSU's next or interim president. Kern Alexander and his son King have both served as MSU President in the past 15 years and the speculation is that Kern's second son Clint Alexander may be among interested parties for the position. Curris denied all of those claims.
Board Vice-Chair Marilyn Buchanon nominated Curris to head the process for beginning a national search for another MSU President. Curris did acknowledge that he is employed by a national search firm, specializing in university presidents.
The board also unanimously approved a list of recommendations for immediate cuts and new revenue for the university. The list includes $5-million in cuts and $1-million in new revenue. The list also includes deferred study items including an evaluation of WKMS costs. School administrators will now begin budget planning for the next academic year.