Faculty Senate, Staff Congress question Curris over Dunn ouster


Reporter - Elizabeth Fields
Photojournalist - Mason Watkins
Web Editor - Mason Stevenson

MURRAY, Ky. - The Faculty Senate and Staff Congress at Murray State University want answers.

They got their chance Tuesday.

Members of the organizations questioned Board of Regents Chairman Dr. Constantine Curris about the board's decision not to renew President Randy Dunn's contract.

Leaders say they got some answers, but that was it.

The first question that came up during the session was about the meeting that took place the night before the board voted.  Curris replied, "At no time did members sit around and discuss the way they would vote."  After that, he made it clear that was all he planned to say on the subject.

He did talk about the decision to have the contract vote during the March meeting instead of when it was originally scheduled. He said the majority didn't want more time and had all the information they needed.

"Four regents said this is what we feel and when no other regent wanted additional information I went that Friday to talk with the other six regents," he said.

A lot of the information he said came from the ad-hoc report which was presented to the regents about Dr. Dunn's performance. Curris said he can't speak for the other regents about what they saw in the report that made up their mind, but for him personally, it was that Dr. Dunn isn't helping make Murray State be "the choice school" by local high school seniors and students transferring from community colleges. 

He was questioned by a staff member about what he thought Dr. Dunn is doing well and Curris said, personally, he thinks Dunn has kept the school in good financial health and has helped run a successful capital campaign. He also said he's impressed by the increased minority enrollment numbers on campus and also by the support he has from faculty and staff. 

Staff Congress President John Young asked Curris about alumni support. Many worry the board's decision could impact donations.

Curris told members that he hoped it didn't impact donations, but if it did, it would be a "blip on the screen."

The meeting lasted about an hour and the audience applauded when it ended. Faculty Senate President Kevin Binfield said he's glad Curris took the time to talk.  

"I think we did get good answers, not all the answers, but it's a start. That's what we're after is a start," he said. He added that the rest of the answers about the pre-vote gathering might have to come out through the open meetings act complaint filed with the Attorney General.

Binfield asked Curris about the possibility of a re-vote in July and Curris told him that would have to be discussed and voted on by the board. Then if it does get rescheduled for past the June 30 contract deadline, Dunn's contract could get automatically extended by one year.

The next Board of Regents meeting is scheduled for May 10.