Early summer break questionable for VPs

Editorial Board / Washburn Review

School’s out for… Robin Bowen and Wanda Hill.

These ladies held some of the top positions in Washburn University’s administrative structure: Bowen was the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Wanda Hill was the Vice President of Administration and Treasurer. These were the second- and third-highest paid positions at Washburn, with the exception of Law School administration. Yet they both “resigned” at the same time on the same day. Suspicious? Perhaps.

But no one is talking. Or rather, everyone is talking. The faculty is chattering, the staff is buzzing and even the student body has taken interest, which is saying something considering how difficult it can be to provoke the students into action about the administration (trust us, we’ve tried).

In last week’s edition of the Review, we also used Mike Gunter’s resignation to underline the unusual amount of shuffling that our administration has undergone at this point. But in all honesty, Gunter’s resignation was no shock. After the amount of SunGard’s systemic failures, something at Washburn’s ISS department had to change. The faculty had been calling for Gunter’s resignation since its vote of “no confidence” last spring, so, although some people may have mouthed the word “scapegoat,” no one made a fuss. And no one (administratively) is making a fuss with the resignation of the VPAA and VPAT.

Among the lesser-paid persons at Washburn (those of us making less than six figures per year), rumors abound, from one that says the two lovely ladies were escorted off campus to one that quotes “washburnedu.com” about Wanda Hill’s expense reports.

At a faculty brunch, Dr. Farley made it fairly clear that the “resignations” were given a helpful hand from up above, saying, “I thought about this for a long time. It was a hard decision.” He also iterated that the cause of both Bowen’s and Hill’s “resignation” was of a sensitive nature. But we’re all a little skeptical of his statement that the causes are not “scandalous.”

Obviously, the causes are big enough that both Bowen and Hill couldn’t wait to resign until May or June, when it would have been a little less embarrassing for everyone involved. So it’s probably fair to say it will take a little more than Farley’s word to convince us that their resignations aren’t scandalous.

Last week’s story on the issue says, “Despite the rumor mill, the administration had already informed the proper people of the decisions.” Sadly, the “proper people” were not the people that Bowen and Hill worked with on a day-to-day basis, leaving a few staff members and work-study students wondering something along the lines of “WTF?”

In another twist to this already exhausted tale of intrigue, Bowen is still tenured at Washburn as an education professor. This gives her the full right to return to a professorship if she so chooses, which Farley indicated to be something he expects her to do. Does it seem likely that a woman scorned would return to a lower position on the totem (and on the payscale) with the very institution that ousted her? We’ll see.

For now, it may be pretty safe to say that for ex-VPAA Bowen and ex-VPAT Hill, “School’s out for-ever…”