I remember where I was when it was announced that the Board of Regents decided not to extend the contract of former Murray State President Randy Dunn.
I was sitting in the newsroom, editing a story. As soon as one of my coworkers announced the decision, I was admittedly upset and confused as to why they would choose to let him go.
In a 2012 student survey, Dunn received a 75-80 percent approval rating. How could they go against something like that?
When I went to the budget address March 7, however, I was given a new perspective on why Dunn’s dismissal was best.
Dunn was a great public figure and made himself active in many student relations.
We saw him star in campus music videos and attend events like All Campus Sing. He was a good figurehead, but maybe he was just that: a figurehead.
A spreadsheet of where our money was spent in the past year revealed that Dunn made frivolous monetary decisions and an array of budgetary mistakes.
Dunn provided $11,500 in travel expenses to an unknown recruiter in Illinois.
Nobody within the University, including Interim President Tim Miller, knew who this person was.
In the survey, 89.5 percent of students said that Dunn could be trusted to be honest and up front, but his decision to fund an unknown recruiting project reflects just the opposite.
He also used reserve money to fill holes in the budget. While you may say ‘so what?’, this was actually a bad move. That money is supposed to be reserved for emergency situations only. It shouldn’t be used to balance a budget.
That’s money we could have used when we were scrambling to fix the loss of power and frozen water pipes during the snowstorm in early January.
After Dunn became the president of Youngstown State, it also fell victim to some of his questionable practices.
Not showing up to a recruiting event without notice, darting out of a three-year contract in less than one year and deleting his Facebook account had us all wondering what loyalty Dunn had to Youngstown State or any university.
I had no problems with Dunn, but there are duties a president has that go beyond showing up to events, smiling for the camera and living in a university mansion.
Dunn had an obligation to make Murray State a financially functioning Kentucky college and he ultimately failed to do so.
It should be our responsibility to keep up with University issues like our multi-million dollar debt and what provisions Murray State has to make in order to stay afloat.
We are in the midst of choosing a new president. While most students would shrug at this, we have a real responsibility to know what we need to look for in a new leader.
We need someone who can convince the state to stop slicing postsecondary education funding, can balance a budget and does not see Murray State as a stepping stone to another opportunity elsewhere.
Column by Carly Besser, Opinion Editor