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Cuesta official placed on leave following comments to New Times

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In a monthly open forum held on Dec. 9, Cuesta College’s president, Dr. Gil Stork, announced the college had placed one of its communications directors on administrative leave following comments made to New Times.

A Cuesta official later confirmed that Stephan Gunsaulus, director of marketing and communications, was placed on administrative leave.

- AT THE TOP:  In a monthly address to Cuesta College officials on Dec. 9, President Dr. Gil Stork announced that a communications director was placed on administrative leave due to comments made to New Times. -  - PHOTO COURTESY OF CUESTA COLLEGE
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF CUESTA COLLEGE
  • AT THE TOP: In a monthly address to Cuesta College officials on Dec. 9, President Dr. Gil Stork announced that a communications director was placed on administrative leave due to comments made to New Times.

Stork said he placed Gunsaulus on one day of administrative leave while he “did more research on the article and the background of the quotes.”

He added Gunsaulus was not in danger of being fired.

The article in question was the Dec. 8 cover story, “Waiting in the wings,” which focused on budget issues within the Cuesta Performing Arts programs and reported conflicts between some departments. Gunsaulus was quoted in the article.

According to an audio recording of Stork’s speech, he said remarks made in the article were inappropriate “for that position to make.”

“We don’t take this lightly,” Stork said in his monthly address to Cuesta. “… and I will be taking action next week in terms of the future of that particular employee.”

Gunsaulus was directly quoted twice in the article.

“The truth is important, and the truth is shared appropriately with those individuals or agencies that have business knowing what the truth is,” Stork said.

On Dec. 14, Gunsaulus told New Times he had met with Stork and had been placed on a one-day administrative leave. Gunsaulus said he felt his comments in the story were framed in a way that opened them up to negative interpretations within the administration.

“The way my comments were published had the potential to create controversy within the organization,” he said.

He added that the administrative leave wasn’t entirely due to his comments, but was mostly tied to personal and family issues. According to Gunsaulus, Stork chose to put him on leave out of “respect for me as a human being.”

Gunsaulus explained he had already arranged to be out of the office until mid-January due to personal issues. He fully anticipated he would return to his position with Cuesta after the planned absence.

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