Lt. Joseph Cunje returns to Occidental on leave of absence

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The college reached an agreement with Campus Safety Lt. Joe Cunje that reinstates his employment with the college, according to multiple sources close to Cunje.

Cunje’s employment status moved from “terminated” to on a “leave of absence” until 2018, which means that he can return to work if he is medically cleared. If there is not an opening in Campus Safety, he can be placed in another position. The college will furthermore pay for Cunje and his wife’s medical and dental insurance until 2018.

“As President Veitch said he would, he met personally with [Cunje] and apologized for the college’s failure to honor his long service in an appropriate way,” Director of Communications Jim Tranquada said via email. “We have resolved the situation to [Cunje]’s and our satisfaction. [Cunje] is currently on an extended leave of absence and should his health improve sufficiently, we look forward potentially to welcoming him back to work in the future.”

Earlier in the semester Cunje’s termination spurred controversy on campus, and numerous alumni pledged not to donate to the college in response. Cunje suffered a stroke in January 2013 that left him unable to work; Cunje attributes his medical problems to stress suffered from the reorganization of Campus Safety under the Dean of Students office. After an extended time on medical leave, he was terminated.