Students shouldn’t let board off the hook

Last week, we called on the faculty, students, staff and the regional community to take a stand against the possibility that the Murray State Board of Regents acted illegally in coming to a conclusion as to whether President Randy Dunn should have his contract renewed. We called on students to get up, get active and get angry.

We asked for the moral authority that we all have when we stand up for our rights to be represented. We didn’t specify how – that was left up to the students, the faculty, the staff and the community itself.

When Board Chair Constantine Curris entertained questions from faculty and staff Tuesday night, he probably didn’t expect the grilling that he got from many of those in attendance with questions concerning the vote on President Dunn’s contract.

Faculty members went a step further, recently, with the announcement that some members of the faculty were looking to establish a local affiliate of the American Association of University Professors union as another outlet for faculty voices to be heard on campus and within the administration.

Conspicuously absent from discussions about challenging the decision, or about holding the board’s feet to the fire over a possible violation of Kentucky’s open meetings law has been, at every step of the way, the student population.

After the initial announcement that Dunn’s contract would not be renewed, an outpouring of student support for Dunn emerged in comments on and on social media outlets.

This, combined with student bewilderment as to why Student Regent Jeremiah Johnson voted against the renewal of Dunn’s contract, has not turned into much of anything since the initial announcement. Students did not picket Curris’ forum with the faculty and staff Tuesday night.

Students have not picketed anything, nor have students written letters in protest, nor have students organized a campaign for a revote on Dunn’s contract.

If students want Dunn to remain president of this University, they certainly haven’t done much to show it.

If students let the board off the hook, if they allow a possible violation of the law by this board go unchecked, they open the doors for this kind of behavior to become normalized.

No wrongdoing has been proven as of yet, and that is again important to note, but the shady atmosphere surrounding the process is, in and of itself, grounds for alarm.

If the board cannot be completely honest about the number of members present at the closed-door social gathering and what those members discussed with the student body, the faculty, the staff and our community, how can we trust the board to be honest with us on a daily basis?

Should this be allowed normalization by the Board of Regents’ actions?

We are not calling for prosecutions; we are calling for answers and we are asking that the board come clean and opt for another vote, one untainted by the mere possibility of scandal. We believe that President Dunn at least deserves that, regardless of the outcome of such a vote.

Students have every right to be angry, but they have no excuse to be uninvolved. If the faculty, staff and community leaders can protest these actions, so can we.

It’s time for we, the students to get to work in building real shared governance at Murray State rather than the lip service that gets paid to it on a regular basis.

The staff editorial is the majority opinion of  The Murray State News Editorial Board.