Nordly Capi, one of the three CSU football players expelled from the university for involvement in an April 6 fight, believes it was media attention that led to this decision.
â€œI mostly feel like weâ€™ve been mistreated,â€ Capi said. â€œIt was an unfair decision and I was disappointed by the way the university handled the whole decision.â€
Capi along with his teammates, Mike Orakpo and Colton Paulhus, â€“â€“ who have also been expelled â€“â€“ were charged with disorderly conduct on April 26. CSU freshmen Danny Gocha, who was involved with the fight, was also charged with disorderly conduct.
According to the Associated Press, a fourth student has also been expelled, however the university has not confirmed if Gocha is the fourth expelled student.
Capi said the disorderly conduct charges arenâ€™t why he and his teammates were kicked out of the university. During his first Office of Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services conduct hearing, he said it was made clear that officials were trying to protect the campusâ€™ image. The expelled students have until May 15 to appeal the decision.
â€œ(CRSCS Director Craig Chesson) said that itâ€™s hard to admit me back into the university because of the media,â€ Capi said.
The case has received extensive coverage from 9News, Fox 31, the Fort Collins Coloradoan, Loveland Reporter-Herald, Washington Post, Associated Press and Collegian.
While university spokesman Mike Hooker couldnâ€™t comment on the specifics of the studentsâ€™ cases, he denied Capiâ€™s allegation.
â€œDefinitely the outcome of this judicial process has nothing to do with media attention or anything of that sort,â€ he said, emphasizing the significance of the police report in CRSCSâ€™s decision.
However, the amount of public interest in the case did factor into the universityâ€™s decision to release that the students had been expelled, according to Dean of Students Jody Donovan.
Federal privacy laws forbid disclosing disciplinary records, except in cases where a student is an alleged perpetrator of any violent crime.
â€œObviously, I will try and appeal just like I know my fellow teammates will,â€ Capi said. â€œ â€¦ Itâ€™s hard when (the university) sends an email to the whole student body â€¦ â€
The CRSCS handed down the expulsion, their most severe sanction, after reviewing information provided by Fort Collins Police Services about the fight.
Throughout their investigation, for example, they found that some of the players lied to police officers about their whereabouts during and leading up to the altercation, according to a 90-page report released on April 26.
Officers also found a marijuana pipe, a box for a kit used to skew the results of a marijuana drug test, bloody clothing and â€œunlabeled vials with a clear liquid inside a small refrigeratorâ€¦ along with syringes and alcohol swabsâ€ inside Paulhus and Orakpoâ€™s home, according to the report.
â€œAs an (athletics director), I want to make it absolutely clear that we have zero tolerance for this kind of behavior by our student athletes,â€ said Jack Graham, CSU athletics director in an email to the campus community. â€œ â€¦ I cannot guarantee that our student-athletes will not use illegal substances, whether recreational or performance enhancing â€“â€“ I wish I could. I can tell you, however, that I am committed, as are all of our coaches and Athletic Department staff, to drug-free athletics and athletes.â€
News Editors Andrew Carrera and Elisabeth Willner can be reached at email@example.com.