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SOU’s President a Finalist for New Job

SOUASHLAND, Ore. – Southern Oregon University President Mary Cullinan announced she is a finalist to become the next president at Youngstown State University.

Cullinan informed employees and students in an e-mail sent Monday. She is one of three finalists for the position. She said she was nominated for the position, and completed a Skype interview last Saturday. She was invited to visit the campus next week, and said Youngstown State may move quickly in the hiring process.

The announcement comes as SOU goes through the “retrenchment” process, cutting programs and faculty to make up for a multi-million dollar budget gap. Last month SOU announced cuts that laid off 12 full-time employees, and eliminated several majors and minors. During that retrenchment process, SOU faculty gave a vote of “no confidence” to Cullinan, Provost Jim Klein, and Vice President of Finance Craig Morris.

Cullinan said the no confidence vote is not impacting her decision to pursue other opportunities, and said the retrenchment has reached the point where she would feel comfortable stepping away if offered a new job.

“We did have a challenging, difficult year, but we’re through that,” she said.

“I didn’t want people to think that I was attempting to abandon ship. I’ve loved this university for eight years, and this is just an opportunity to explore.”

Tommy Letchworth, the president of the Associated Students of Southern Oregon University said he is hopeful that Cullinan would leave the university in good shape for the future, if she takes a new job. But he said a new president would inherit the budget challenges that have persisted as SOU in recent years.

“A new person is going to come in and have all this stuff on their plate” Letchworth said. “So they’re going to have to implement the cuts that were planned.”

When contacted by phone, Faculty Senate Chair David Carter declined to comment on the story.