ISS director Mike Gunter resigns

Ben Fitch / Washburn Review

Tom Prasch, president of Faculty Senate, said he thought ISS Director Mike Gunter’s resignation was way over due.

Gunter announced his resignation effective Feb. 9, citing personal reasons.

“The atmosphere with faculty had become a problem,” said Prasch. “The faculty didn’t believe Gunter when he said anything.”

Gunter filled the position of ISS director four years ago, and has since faced ridicule from faculty and students. Last year, during a faculty senate meeting on April 13, a motion of no confidence was passed by a majority against Gunter. Faculty cited examples of poor communication and restrictions on academic freedom.

“My personal take on it is that there are two issues,” said Prasch, “a personal issue, and the structural issue.”

So this semester, when students and faculty experienced problems with my.washburn, fingers were pointed at Gunter.

“You can’t blame everything on Gunter,” said Prasch.

He said that the problem was attributable to Sungard, the IT service company that supplies Washburn with its software and processing solutions, rather than Gunter, but that there was a problem with communication.

“It’s not that there were problems, but how the problems were handled,” Prasch said.

Garret Love, student body president, said the tech situation was not good for Washburn students, but that it is difficult to identify whether the blame placed on Gunter was justified.   

“I never could fully grasp what exactly the situation was,” he said.

Chris Hamm, a senior business management/marketing major, works for PremierOne Data Systems, a company that manages the IT for small businesses.

“I’ve worked in IT for the past seven years,” Hamm said, “so in a way I can empathize with the stress that comes with managing IT. I also understand from the perspective of an actual user, like faculty and students.

“But I think it was probably time with the events that have unfolded. Key events set up the perfect storm for his resignation. I think a lot of times what it comes down to is scrutiny versus flexibility. In this regard I think there wasn’t enough flexibility, and we need to have that flexibility to pursue academic goals.”

Last semester, Hamm created a mock survey about the general approval of ISS, which can be reached at

“It’s a satirical survey,” said Hamm.

Two weeks after the survey went up on Aug. 26, it had drawn 350 visits. In addition, Hamm created parodies of my.washburn and posted them on Facebook. During

 the first week of November, Hamm received a letter calling him to appear before Meredith Kidd, dean of students.

“When I went to his office I found out that Gunter had written a complaint letter. It was full of ludicrous claims—pretty retaliatory,” said Hamm.

Hamm said the letter was vague in the reasons it cited for his misconduct.

“It looked as though they had just thrown darts at the conduct code,” he said.

Hamm said it seemed like Kidd was obligated to punish him in some way. He was told he would have to pay a $10 to $15 fine and write an apology letter. The fine and letter were later dropped and no punishment was imposed on Hamm.

“The scrutiny definitely played a part—I imagine [Gunter] was a little on edge. It wasn’t long after the vote of no confidence; it looked really bad for him. But in a way I think that a lot of people jumped on the bandwagon of ‘Mike Gunter is not qualified to do his job.'”

In the press release announcing Gunter’s resignation, the University cited examples of tech improvement that were made during his time at Washburn.

“We are appreciative of Mike’s commitment to the University and for the many improvements made in the information systems and services department while here,” said Wanda Hill, vice president for administration and treasurer.  “We wish him well in his future endeavors.”