Survey says: students gave Dunn high approval

Student Regent Jeremiah Johnson has recovered a survey asking the student body to share its opinion on President Randy Dunn’s performance at Murray State.

Surveys came to light Wednesday afternoon, showing overall support toward Dunn from 885 students that completed them. The survey included seven questions and an area for additional comments.

Originally, Johnson said he did not have a hard copy of the surveys, because the Center of Teaching, Learning and Technology had an online copy of the results.

Later, Johnson learned the survey included faculty and staff, who are also enrolled as students, which made the results skewed.

“I didn’t feel that all of the students were represented in the survey,” Johnson said. “I didn’t use the survey results because they are skewed. At the board meeting I said I don’t feel like this represented the students, but it’s all I have.”

Bar Graph

In the portion of the survey giving students the opportunity to voice their opinions, several students gave specific, educated reasons as to why they supported Dunn.

Several students, however, stated they had no idea who Dunn was until they recieved the survey, or did not know of anything he had done while at Murray State.

Several months after the survey, an unnofficial vote was taken at an SGA?meeting in regard to the president’s contract renewal. Only one SGA member out of 46 voted for Dunn’s return.

Johnson said the vote did not appear in the official meeting minutes because SGA would not take a public stance against the president.

It should be noted that the surveys were taken in the first part of this year, and are separate from the vote Johnson says happened last fall. The suvey and vote took place approximately eight months apart. In that time, discussion about student fees to support a new library and funding of the presidential lecture series was rampant among SGA members.

Dunn said Johnson had the ability to make the surveys available to the student body earlier, but chose not to.

“I’m not in favor of suppressing information,” Dunn said. “Students took the time to weigh in on that survey and in my opinion they should be heard.”

Dunn also said he believes his relationship with students across campus was strong and positive.

“In the Student Regent’s eyes there may have been things he wanted to do differently or would play out in a different way, and I respect his opinion on that,” Dunn said. “His feeling doesn’t diminish my belief that my interaction with students was ideal.”

Nathan McNichols, the lone SGA senator who voted in favor of Dunn’s contract renewal said he supports Johnson’s efforts.

“On several occasions in the past, SGA has been unhappy with some of the actions taken by Dr. Dunn, such as the infamous library debacle and the presidential lecture debate,” McNichols said. “In the vast majority of these instances where SGA clashed with the President’s Office, I agree with the steps taken by Jeremiah and SGA as a whole.”

In addition, McNichols said he did not believe any of these actions went unresolved by the President’s Office.

“It is my own personal opinion that the largest donor of student dislike toward the President is based on the negative emotions which surround his decision to apply for different positions at different universities,” McNichols said.

McNichols said he does not feel that, over the course of his enrollment, Dunn has taken any action that would warrant a vote to not renew his contract.

“It is important to remember that my observations of the President’s Office are based solely on my own observations of events, which have been brought to light in SGA meetings,”?McNichols said.

Johnson said he based his vote on conversations with numerous students from the main and regional campuses and the unofficial vote of SGA. He said he voted based on what he thought was best for the students.

Johnson said he took SGA’s opinions seriously when considering the renewal of Dunn’s contract.

“I think SGA interacts with the president more than the general student population,” Johnson said. “They see how the president reacts with students, the budget committee and several other areas.”

Linda Miller, chief information officer of CTLT, provides the technology to administer surveys on campus and can set up secure surveys for campus entities and can assist the owner of the survey to view and extract the results into spreadsheets or other forms to assist in analysis of the results.

“We have provided this information to (Johnson) and have provided the assistance he has requested to view and share the information with whomever he wishes to,” Miller said.

The surveys surfaced Wednesday afternoon, exactly one week before the announcement of the new SGA president will be made.

 Story by Meghann Anderson, News Editor.