NDSCS president sends campus-wide email regarding Jamie Kuntz

Today, through a source, I was able to get my hands on a memo sent to the entire North Dakota State College of Science campus from NDSCS President John Richman regarding the dismissal of Dickinson High School graduate Jamie Kuntz from the college’s football team, which subsequently led to Kuntz leaving NDSCS.

The message stands by the college’s view that head football coach Chuck Parsons was within his rights as a coach to dismiss Kuntz, who admitted to the coach that he was gay before being dismissed from the team, based on the fact that Kuntz lied to him about an incident during a game on Sept. 1 in Pueblo, Colo., as well as conduct detrimental to the team.

The message from Richman reads:

Recent public statements about NDSCS made by former student athlete, Jamie Kuntz, have prompted me to publicly defend decisions made by the college and speak out about our policies on student conduct.

Jamie Kuntz voluntarily withdrew from NDSCS last week.  Prior to his withdrawal he was dismissed from the football team for a violation of the football team rules, following an incident at a football game.

Kuntz was sidelined with an injury and volunteered to film the game for the team.  Instead, his conduct with his companion in the press box, which was ongoing and explicit in nature, drew complaints from numerous parents who were in attendance and players.  When asked about the identity of his companion and his reason for accompanying Kuntz to the game, Kuntz falsely identified the companion as his grandfather.  Kuntz later admitted that he had not told the truth, and was then dismissed from the team.

In other words, instead of filming the game, Kuntz invited a companion into the location where he was supposed to be working and engaged in behavior that was a distraction to the team.  When asked about the incident by his coach, Kuntz did not tell the truth about the identity of his companion and what happened, as he has since acknowledged.  Based on this conduct, the football coach dismissed Kuntz from the team.

I want to reaffirm my support for the decisions made in this instance. As the president of NDSCS, I entrust our staff and faculty with decision-making authority which includes the responsibility to fairly administer our policies. This situation was handled thoughtfully, fairly and in line with our policies.

These statements made by the former student have caused individuals not associated with the College to incorrectly claim decisions were made in violation of our policies, in particular our Diversity Policy. In reality, the student’s conduct violated the policies outlined in the Student Athletes Player’s Manual, as well as NDSCS’s Basic Regulations of Conduct for all students outlined in the Guide to Student Rights and Responsibilities – http://www.ndscs.edu/studentlife/student-rights/

All students and faculty must abide by College policies, and this one is very clear.  These policies are in place to protect student rights and provide an open and supportive environment for learning.

It is unfortunate that the events of the week have prompted the mass media to inaccurately portray our campus, faculty, staff and students as something other than what we are.  Let’s continue to operate North Dakota State College of Science, as we always do, with our Quality Standards as guiding principles, and with integrity and fairness always at the forefront.

Despite how this is being portrayed by some, Jamie’s sexual orientation had nothing to do with his dismissal from the football team.  NDSCS is a welcoming campus where individual differences are valued and respected.

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