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Tressel starting pay less than previous YSU president

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - Newly appointed Youngstown State University President Jim Tressel is making less money than the man who preceded him in that post.

YSU Trustees on Monday unanimously approved a contract paying the former Ohio State and Youngstown State University football coach $300,000 in the first year.  Dr Randy Dunn, who left the job after slightly more than seven months, was contracted to receive $375,000 for the first year.

Trustee Chairman Dr. Sudershan Garg said that Tressel was also offered $375,000, but Tressel declined that amount, and accepted $300,000.

During a news conference, Tressel acknowledged the pay difference, saying that the university faces some tough challenges ahead. He denied that his decision to accept less pay than Dunn was symbolic, but said that everyone has to do what they can, which can mean some tough decisions. Tressel said he thought it was the right thing to do.

Under terms of the contract, Tressel and his wife Ellen will live in the Pollock House on campus.  The university will also provide Tressel with an American made car.

Tressel also denied that something needs to be done to fix the Valley. He said that YSU needs to collaborate with non-profit organizations, the  Diocese of Youngstown, Youngstown City Schools and other institutions to make an impact on the Valley's future. He admitted that it will take a lot of time and energy.

Asked to explain his earlier contention that the university needs to tell a compelling story to attract students and contributions, Tressel said that the story centers on YSU's ability to play a crucial role in creating talent for the workforce. He says the spirit of an entire region can be ignited by an institution. Tressel said he is not sure that any group can make more of a difference than a university. 

In addition to increasing student retention and graduation rates, Tressel said it's important to increase the affordability of attending YSU. He says prospective students not only must feel wonderful about attending the university, they also need to feel that they can afford to go there. He says the university has to help reduce the amount of debt facing graduates.

One of Tressel's first tasks is to appoint someone to fill the position of University Provost.  Tressel says he needs a chief academic officer who knows how to be part of a team. Whoever is chosen will have major input into the budget process and will have to make some tough decisions.  He says the process in choosing a provost will be a collaborative effort.

Tressel's contract goes into effect July 1.
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