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Fri April 5, 2013
Student Regent Says His Vote Against Dunn Doesn't Reflect Survey Results
Murray State University student regent Jeremiah Johnson has recovered a student survey that assessed President Randy Dunn's performance he originally claimed to have been lost. Johnson now says the results were largely positive but he won’t release those survey results to the public, claiming the university attorney should decide whether it is a public document.
Johnson, who is elected to his regent post by the student body, voted against renewing president Randy Dunn’s contract. Johnson said he based his “no” vote on conversations with numerous students and an unofficial vote of the Student Government Association.
Johson and six other regents voted against renewing President Randy Dunn's contract on March 15th. Johnson is one of three constituency regents. The Faculty Regent and Staff Regent both voted to extend Dunn a new contract. They also conducted surveys of the constituents that yielded resolutions of support for Dunn.
Johnson said the survey was conducted in January or February of 2012 and assessed Dunn’s performance with a series of four to five questions. Johnson initially said he couldn’t find the results. WKMS then sought the online survey through University Chief Information Officer Linda Miller. Miller said the surveys are still available. She said Johnson could access them but only he could release them due to a standing precedent.
Johnson is now waiting for an opinion from University Attorney Jon Rall. Johnson said he does not know when or if Rall will respond.
“I don’t know if legally I have to release them,” Johnson said. “And also some of the comment boxes have student’s name and phone number in them and I don’t want to violate their privacy.”
WKMS has an outstanding open records request for the survey results. WKMS is not seeking any personal information relating to the respondents.
Johnson said the survey results were used in part in the Board’s comprehensive evaluation of the president. But Johnson later learned the survey sample included faculty and staff, who are also enrolled as students, and did not include students in the University’s English as a Second Language program. Johnson felt the sample could have provided skewed results. He asked that the board disregard the results.
“When I presented them at the evaluation discussions it dawned on me these individuals were not being counted and that other people could be receiving these surveys,” Johnson said. “After talking with the board at the time I told them this is what we have, but I do not feel it is a good grasp of the entire student body.”
Johnson said the board used the aggregated results.
Johnson said many faculty and staff take health classes to avoid paying the Wellness Center fee and was not comfortable having their input in the survey. He acknowledged that some faculty and staff do take full course loads at the University, but still felt uncomfortable about using the data.