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Former University of Tampa student suing for breach of contract after ‘unfair’ expulsion; second such suit in two years

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

The University of Tampa may be starting to develop a reputation for unscrupulous expulsion practices.

The private university, located in Downtown Tampa, is being sued by 35-year-old former student Tara Gunter for breach of contract following what Gunter describes as an “unfair” expulsion.

According to the 403-page suit, Gunter was an “exemplary” student in UT’s Masters of Nursing program from 2011 to 2015.

Three days away from finishing the program, which concluded Aug. 14, 2015, Gunter received a letter from the school’s nursing director, Cathy Kessenich, and its dean of natural and health sciences, Jim Gore, saying she was being dismissed from the program for allegedly falsifying work hours for a clinical practicum.

Gunter contends it was a misunderstanding, and claims the University never gave her a chance to argue her case.

As the complaint reads, Gunter informed assistant nursing professor James Rice Aug. 6 that she would provide him with a detailed accounting Aug. 14 of her hours worked in a clinical course known as “NUR 676.”

However, on the morning of Aug. 10, Rice allegedly demanded that Gunter turn in the log by 3 p.m. that day. Gunter promptly turned in a draft of the log, explaining to Rice that she still needed to fill in some blanks under the “patient info” section and review the entire record for accuracy.

Unfortunately, Gunter claims she was never given an opportunity The University of Tampa may be starting to develop a reputation for unscrupulous expulsion practices.

The lawsuit was filed April 28, 2016. It marks the second such lawsuit filed against UT in the past two years, both of which stemmed from the school’s Masters of Nursing program.

In 2015, longtime registered nurse Dawn Walsh was expelled from UT’s Masters of Nursing program just months before graduation after allegedly prematurely listing the MSN degree on her LinkedIn bio. Walsh argued that the situation was benign but, like Gunter, claims that UT denied her the chance to make her case.


Devon Crumpacker is a Tampa Bay based writer and reporter for Extensive Enterprises Media. He primarily covers Pinellas County politics for, but also makes time to write the occasional bar review for He lives in St. Petersburg with his fiance, Sydney. To contact, e-mail, or visit his Twitter page @DevonCrumpacker.

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