EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) - The Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees on Monday approved a separation agreement ending Randy Dunn’s tenure as the school’s president.
After voting unanimously for the deal, the board also approved the hiring of J. Kevin Dorsey, a former dean of SIU School of Medicine, as interim president.
With the separation agreement, which ends his tenure on July 30, Dunn will be provided a six-month severance payment of $215,000. He will be rehired as a visiting professor at SIU Edwardsville for an annual salary of $100,000, beginning Jan. 1. Dunn became president in 2014. He did not attend Monday’s meeting.
“To the general public, the optics may not look good for paying someone $215,000 to go away, but from my knowledge and experience in the litigation world I have lived in for over 30 years, this agreement is in the best interest of the SIU System and its future,” board vice chairman J. Phil Gilbert said.
The board’s general counsel originally offered no compensation under the assumption that there was just cause to fire Dunn, Gilbert said. He added Dunn’s attorney responded to the offer seeking an amount “substantially higher than what was finally agreed to.”
Dunn became the target of criticism over his handling of a proposal to shift $5.1 million in state funding from the school’s Carbondale campus to the Edwardsville campus. He also faced calls for his resignation after an email in which he used a slur to refer to critics of the reallocation became public.
Dorsey said he was heartened by comment by some who said they want an easing of the dispute between the Carbondale and Edwardsville campuses.
“We can’t have a zero-sum game here,” Dorsey said. “To have one win and one lose is a disaster for this region, and I think we can do well at working with each other.”
Board chairwoman Amy Sholar said there will be a search committee and likely a consulting firm hired to fill the permanent president position.
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