Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Filed Against Weimar Institute & Dr. George Araya

On August 8, 2022, Melissa Osadchuck, a former employee at Weimar University, filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Dr. George Araya, former Vice President of Academic Affairs at Weimar University, and against Weimar Institute. She is requesting a trial by jury in the Superior Court of California, Placer County. The case number listed is S-CV-0048892.

The allegations and case narrative in the filing document, by attorneys Benjamin Eghbali and Vanessa Jarvis, are copied below from the Court filings without edits for spelling, grammar or clarity. The emphasis of certain paragraphs, however, is ours. The Court filings and other documents are attached to this article. Please note that some victims of sexual abuse and sexual assault may find the descriptions triggering.

——

On or about April 21, 2021, Weimar University hired Melissa Osadchuck (Ms. Osadchuck) as an Admissions Representative. Her duties included taking phone calls, processing applications for potential students, and coordinating campus tours for students/families.


In or around April through May 2021, Ms. Osadchuck’s mentor, Dr. George Araya (Dr. Araya), offered his support and presented himself as a caring and insightful boss. He occasionally asked Ms. Osadchuck for a hug, which she dismissed as a warm, grandfatherly cultural gesture. However, this then graduated into a hug and kiss on the cheek, which Ms. Osadchuck presumed was a grandfatherly show of affection but began to feel uncomfortable.

In or around June through August 2021, Ms. Osadchuck was out of town due to work. Dr. Araya often called Ms. Osadchuck to check in on her progress and directed the conversation to personal questions about her spirituality and sexuality. Ms. Osadchuck feeling bitter about Dr. Araya’s intentions, would keep their conversations to work-related topics.

Dr. Araya started the calls asking for work reports and then steered the conversations to details about his sexual experiences with men and women. Dr. Araya said, “Melissa, God has created us as sexual beings, and it is important for you to be aware of your sexuality. I can tell you are not as comfortable as you should be discussing it with me. You need to learn to be comfortable in your sexuality, or it will begin to control you. I can tell that you are a highly sexual being like I am. I am what I am, and I have learned to manage it,” which made Ms. Osadchuck uncomfortable. He made remarks about Ms. Osadchuck’s appearance mentioning that he got aroused when he saw her in the office and wanted to see her naked in a G-string. The harassment took a toll on Ms. Osadchuck’s mental health, which resulted in her having doubts about whether to report Dr. Araya.

Court Complaint Document, page 3


The conversations became more demanding by Dr. Araya who asked for details about her relationship with her boyfriend. He would ask if she was sexually active, suggested masturbation techniques, recommended sex positions, and asked if she was having intense orgasms. At this time, Ms. Osadchuck started to experience anxiety and depression as she was confused why Dr. Araya chose to target and harass her.

In or about October 2021, Dr. Araya called Ms. Osadchuck into his office for a meeting. In the end, he steered the conversation to ask Ms. Osadchuck personal questions about her life. She told him she didn’t see the purpose to why he continuously wanted to know the details about her personal life and dismissed herself. Dr. Araya beat Ms. Osadchuck to the door and asked her for a hug before permitting her to leave. Dr. Araya began hugging her tight, kissing her lips, and said, “Don’t scream!” Ms. Osadchuck, in shock, froze as Dr. Araya continued kissing her, groping her breast and vagina. She attempted to push him off, but he continued to kiss and grope her before finally releasing her, putting his finger over his lips to keep quiet about what had just occurred. Ms. Osadchuck, traumatized by the assault, left Dr. Araya’s office in tears. The following day, Dr. Araya approached Ms. Osadchuck at work and asked her if she liked his physical attempts to which she told him she did not enjoy nor appreciate him touching and manipulating her. Dr. Araya laughed and insisted she was pleased but wasn’t ready to admit it and offered to teach her more sexual techniques.

Court Complaint Document, page 4


On or about November 11, 2021, Ms. Osadchuck messaged her supervisor Margaret Gallant (Ms. Gallant), asking to speak with her in person. Later that morning, Ms. Osadchuck told Ms. Gallant about the ongoing sexual harassment from Dr. Araya. Accordingly, Ms. Osadchuck spoke to Dr. Neil Nedley (Dr. Nedley) about the ongoing harassment. Dr. Nedley assured Ms. Osadchuck he’d address the matter with Dr. Araya and asked if she was okay to finish teaching for the semester, to which she later sent an email stating she would give it some thought.


Later that day, Dr. Nedley called Ms. Osadchuck and explained that Dr. Araya confessed to overstepping his boundaries with her and said he would resign from his position as VPAA (Vice-President Academic Affairs). Dr. Nedley also told Ms. Osadchuck that Dr. Araya could potentially stay hired with the Education Department.

Court Complaint Document, page 5


On or about November 17, 2021, Ms. Osadchuck emailed Dr. Neil Nedley (Dr. Nedley) a partial disclosure of events with Dr. Araya expressing the fear, trauma, and anxiety he caused.

On or about November 29, 2021, Ms. Osadchuck submitted her resignation, stating that her last day would be January 4, 2022.

On or about December 9, 2021, Ms. Osadchuck emailed Dr. Nedley expressing her concerns and fear about seeing Dr. Araya at church, crossing paths with him through campus, and seeing his vehicle in the parking lot.

On or about December 16, 2021, Ms. Osadchuck resigned from Weimar University as she felt they failed to protect her safety on campus. At the time of her resignation, Dr. Araya was still employed at Weimar University as the Chairman of the Education Department.

As a result of Dr. Araya’s actions and the Employer’s inaction, Ms. Osadchuck has suffered and will continue to suffer general and special damages, including severe and profound pain and emotional distress, anxiety, depression, headaches, tension, and other physical ailments, as well as medical expenses, expenses for psychological counseling and treatment, and past and future lost wages and benefits.

——–

According to Weimar University’s Facebook page, Melissa Osadchuck is also a recent graduate of the Theology and Religion department. It states,

“Melissa Osadchuck is a recent graduate of Weimar’s Religion and Theology department, with a deep passion for loving on others. She is currently set on studying law with the hopes of helping create centers of influence, education, and healing on both local and global levels. In talking with her, we asked for her thoughts on the Homiletics class here

“I saved Biblical Preaching and Homiletics for one of my very last classes..not because it didn’t intrigue me or I don’t love talking, but because I keenly sensed the weight of what it would entail. Sharing God’s Word with clarity, eloquence, conviction and power seemed a daunting task – who was I to do so? But in studying this past semester, God has shown me that the power and eloquence, clarity and conviction can never come from man, but is a gift of His Spirit as we work together with Him in sharing the beauty of His truth. Sure, preparation demands all the powers of the mind if it is to be done well, but ultimately, we can trust His promise: So my Word that proceeds from my mouth will not return to me void…

Weimar University Facebook Post

Preliminary Analysis

Despite Dr. Nedley’s quick action in confronting Dr. Araya, many unanswered questions exist.

Here are some of them:

Questions for the University/Weimar Institute Board

Does Weimar University have a policy on sexual harassment and other workplace harassment?

What are the systems for reporting abuse internally and externally as required by law?

How often are the staff trained to identify harassment? How many instances of harassment have previously occurred on this campus? How does the university screen its prospective staff? Was the Board made aware of the allegations when they first surfaced? If not, why not? Was Weimar university aware of Araya’s alleged bisexuality when it hired him? Was there any history of abuse of power in previous employments? Has Araya approached other young staff or students? How many other sexual assault or harassment incidents have there been on campus? Have those assaults been reported? Have any minors been involved? Ms. Osadchuck stated that she didn’t feel protected on campus. Do other women think similarly? Were Dr. Nedley’s actions and subsequent decisions consistent with Board policy for such situations? Why was Araya retained in his position in the Education department when he had admitted to crossing lines with support staff? Was his retention consistent with Adventist education principles and its standards for teachers and administrators? A lot of ink is spilled regarding the Christian lifestyle in the Student Handbook for Weimar University. Is the standard for lifestyle the same for teachers and administrators? Does retaining a bisexual teacher represent a New Theology and an openness to hiring other sexual orientations that currently exist nowhere else in Adventist Education globally? Is Weimar University breaking new ground in gender and sexuality?

Questions for the Plaintiffs

Conversely, for the plaintiffs, the case brief alludes to an email with “partial disclosure” to Dr. Nedley. Was Dr. Nedley made aware of all the allegations, including allegations of Araya’s alleged self-disclosed sexual exploits? Was the disclosure partial because she had begun the process of filing a case with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing? Or were the disclosures partial because Ms. Osadchuck got the sense that Dr. Nedley never fully believed her claims? Or was it because she was uncomfortable having to rehash the assault to another man?  Did she record her interactions with Dr. Araya, with Dr. Nedley?

Other Issues

This case raises other challenging issues going forward for the self-supporting Adventist universities and other institutions. For decades these institutions have historically relied on the goodwill of individuals who believed they were working for an eternal cause. But in recent years, workers have observed that from Hartland on down, these institutions have been forced to change their curricula and employment practices as economic realities dictated a different path than the one laid down by Sutherland and others.

Weimar is now a university. And with that designation has come an avalanche of changes. And many more changes will come. There will be more corporate-speak, and the staff policy manual if it exists, will become heavier. Some of that goodwill, tolerance and spiritual deference will go away.

Weimar will face the same pressures that all Adventist universities have to face: competition from outside and within, a workforce that is no longer willing to bear abuses of power, and above all, a willingness of women to stand up to men in courts of law to assert their biblical God-given rights as human beings.

Dr. Nedley, Dr. Araya, and likely an array of Weimar staff will answer questions under oath in depositions and in court. Or the Weimar Board may think it wise to settle out of court. Paying out-of-court settlements may set a precedent for future cases. Win or lose; this case heralds a new era in which women at self-supporting institutions will begin to reach parity with men. According to the late conservative Adventist theologian, C. Mervyn Maxwell, the quest for Women’s ordination began with a case with the Internal Revenue Service. Perhaps the road to equality with men at self-supporting institutions will begin at the Superior Court in Placer County. Either way, change is coming to Weimar, and perhaps all this is a good thing (Romans 8:28).

Intelligent Adventist has reached out to Weimar University for comments from Dr. Neil Nedley and Dr. George Araya. The case management conference date is currently set for December 5, 2022.

You may also like

65 Comments

    1. It has everything to do with it because our religion doesn’t condone that kind of behavior and if tolerated he could pursue that kind of behavior on campus.

      1. So him pursuing “bisexual behaviour” is of more concern to you than a sexual harassment lawsuit? Please don’t even equate the two.

      2. It is very sad that the matter was not handled in a proper manner. I hope and pray that justice will be served.

  1. There’s clearly more to the story than meets the eye regarding this matter. That said, the plaintiff’s concerns must be handled with the utmost of care and respect. From what I understand, the Board of Directors isn’t aware, at least until now.

    Weimar has become a wretched hive of abuse and hypocrisy. The world is finally learning of the disease endemic to the organization and its misplaced understanding of what it means to heal a hurting world (i.e., their motto). If Weimar is to be saved — and I believe it should, provided it can attain balance — a thorough house-cleaning is needed, which would include the forthwith resignations of Dr. Phil Mills (Chairman), Dr. Neil Nedley (President), and Pastor Don Mackintosh (Chaplain and Religion Chair).

    1. Your baseless claims about Weimar being a “wretched hive of abuse and hypocrisy” are ignorant at best and flat-out diabolical at worst. Unless you have hard evidence of the nefarious activity of Weimar (which probably would have been reported if such evidence existed given your apparent personal qualms with Weimar) your statements are unwarranted. Is Weimar’s understanding of what it means to heal a hurting world truly misplaced? Ask the hundreds of people whose lives are touched on a weekly basis through TCI every Wednesday. Ask the people of Ukraine who were given emergency care by Weimar students who traveled there of their own accord knowing the danger of doing so. Ask the NEWSTART and Depression and Anxiety Recovery patients who also have had their lives completely changed for the better as a result of Weimar. If you have personal issues with Weimar or Seventh-Day Adventism in general, public forums are the worst place to air them out; you will 10 times out of 10 come across looking like a child with a temper tantrum.

      1. You are the child with the tantrum because you can’t see that an institution should be held to a high standard, no matter how much charity work they did. Charity work, and wellness programs do not except your god (Weimar) from being accountable to abuse. Weimar was wrong to send their students to a war zone as well. This is not the first time a Weimar staff member has abused/harassed a student, and it’s about time that at least one victim gets the justice they so deserve and have standing for. This is why not more victims come forward with their story, because of comments like yours.

      2. Anonymous, so you really want to pull that thread? You’re not going to like the answer and the ugliness of the Weimar baby.

      3. been in Weimar for years. I love the place, truly, but it’s a robotic-like environment with deep faith in Christ. But honestly, I know and have seen and participated in enough to say some things happen (ed). I’ve seen a list of past-long-term students from Weimar, that are now posting on social media(s) their current lifestyle outside of the institute that Weimar would consider, in the shorter term, “hurt”. Examples given of such activities from this crowd include drinking, smoking, premarital sex, the use of street slang, secretly dating, sharing posts with syncopated music, clubbing, eating meat, consuming dairy products, and it can continue. Some staff eats or have eaten fish and meat on campus. Staff and students are involved in animosity. The connections to a few of them remain and are still employed or have moved away. I can see how and where it seems like things get brushed under the rug. Personally, the program(s) work because I’ve seen and worked with it to know, but it’s not 100% “you’re never going back to your old ways” and you can still be well. But Weimartians will see this comment and disagree or judge that my chances at survival in the end times are low. I don’t know how to word it all. I just wanted to say something.

      4. Just because a few people did something good (ie: helping Ukraine, etc) , doesnt take away the fact that horrible things were allowed to happen. And it certainly doesn’t mean that bad things DIDN’T happen. “Baseless claims”? There are enough people out there who had bad experiences at Weimar to support those claims. Just ask around…

  2. Soooo many people are watching this already. How Weimar is reacting, and will continue to react, speaks volumes.

  3. Justice must be served. Why did the university not “immediately place” the accused employee on academic leave or suspension while the investigation continued? The accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty, but he/she must be relieved and removed from potentially harming innocent victims while an investigation is undertaken.

    I hope justice and truth prevails.

  4. Why must a coverup be the route so often pursued by institutions only interested in self preservation and protecting their own interests? Why are dangerously errant staff members more important than student safety and transparency? In the case of Weimar University, it is high time that the leadership of Dr. Nedley and Don Mackintosh demand a much greater input from the student and staff level all the way to the board level. Too many people are being hurt in the name of God.

  5. This is not the first time that an alleged staff has groomed, harassed or abused a student and Neil Nedley and Weimar University have allowed the alleged staff to continue working there.

      1. Yes, the claims are true. Dr. Mills, Dr. Nedley, and Pastor Mackintosh were all aware of the reject from the Michigan Conference, and yet, did nothing to avert someone who took advantage of a minor having an influential presence on campus.

        People will show you who they are. It’s your job to believe them.

        1. Pastor Mackintosh and Dr. Mills both, at one time, went to the same church, and allowed a child molestor to continue attending the congregation after the abuse was brought to their attention (by someone who was legally a mandated reporter, and never reported). This is not the first time they have covered up, whether intentionally or through sheer lack of care, an abuse case.

      1. What was said about the reject from the Michigan conference is true. Each of the individuals named above willingly hired a man with a sexually predatory history and were aware of an explicit video that was circulating filmed by this person. They kept him on staff even when he was carrying on relationships with student (s!), one of them which he ended up marrying.

  6. The situation is more complex than a cursory reading of this article would give. What Dr. Araya did was unconscionable and absolutely abhorrent and there is no excuse to his actions. There are some details which were not covered in the article which may help bring some clarity to the situation. Unfortunately the perpetrator had a large extended family working and studying at Weimar, and as a measure of mercy towards his wife, children and grandchildren he was allowed to keep his official position until the end of the school year when the children would graduate from elementary and high school. He was not on campus anymore except coming into his office to pick up documents, et cetera. He did not appear at the university graduation, though his wife did attend as she had been head of the education center department. Another complicating factor is that the victim did not disclose the full extent of the harassment at the time, and important details that are part of this lawsuit are first coming to light in the court documents that are being filed. The directors at the time only had partial information to act on and may have underestimated the extent of the abuse. Perhaps by erring on the side of mercy for the family and due to a lack of complete disclosure they took a decision which has come back to haunt them. They also probably felt that expelling him during the school year would cause a large disruption to the student population and bring unwanted attention to the school, the family of the perpetrator and the victim who at the time wanted privacy. The goal of this lawsuit is to acquire a financial indemnification for the victim. Initially there was a request made to the university for a monetary settlement, but it was ignored, which is why the lawyers in the case decided to sue in court and send the information to news outlets as a pressure tactic to force them to settle. The final result will probably be an out-of-court settlement and a nondisclosure agreement for all parties involved.

    1. While I understand why the victim would end up settling, it would be a sad turn of events to have it all result in a Non Disclosure Agreement situation, letting those responsible off with very few, if any, consequences and opening the door wider to more possible victims.

    2. If what you say is true, it illustrates some very poor judgment on the part of Dr. Nedley and the executive leadership of Weimar. Yes — tough decision however the victim’s situation should always be first in their efforts to resolve. This is very unsettling and obvious horrible publicity for a supposed Christian institution. I am mortified.

  7. Look, feeling bad or having mercy for his family should be way second place to protecting the students on campus or any others from this happening to them. There are consequences for your actions and that effects other people. Right should be done, I would have way more respect for weimar if they had done the right thing, protected the campus, and warned others. But the way they acted showed they cared more about their own reputation then what was right. Cared about disturbing a large extended family that held a lot of positions on campus and that would just be too much money and undue hardship on administration to replace (if needed). I mean I think the family should be warned as well and keep their kids far away. Like this is serious stuff. I’m sick of institutions “erring on the side of mercy” causing abuse to multiply and run rampant. It’s just wrong.

  8. My understanding of this situation (from a very reliable source) is that Dr. Nedley made this decision in a vacuum ( as often is the case, I am told). One of his administrative colleagues found out about this situation very early on and told Dr. Nedley that there are no secrets. He recommended that Dr. Nedley go before the entire campus , explain what happened and ask if anyone else had suffered at the hands of Dr. Araya. Some may call his decision merciful, and others would call it poor judgement. Whatever the case may be, Dr. Nedley is not trained in education. Perhaps this is the unfortunate fallout.

    1. For someone who’s supposed to be an expert in EQ, Dr. Nedley shows little to none. His lack of social awareness and poor judgment are indicative of poor leadership. Just because someone’s a doctor, runs his own business, and directs an Institute, doesn’t mean he’s a leader. If his expertise is medicine, then he should stay in his lane. Sadly, it appears he lacks the EQ to realize his shortfall; the same with Mills and Mackintosh.

  9. “Lord, look at all we have done in Your name!” Jesus said, “I never knew you!” If the Weimar leadership doesn’t humble themselves and repent, this will be what they hear when the Lord comes. What a disgrace to His name!

    God raised up Weimar and had/has a plan for it. Often when a place becomes successful, pride takes over and leaders forget Who is in charge. “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us…” Not if we cover up, shuffle people and positions, etc.

    There are good people at Weimar, but unfortunately, there are some bad people as well! This is so sad! I feel so bad for Melissa and others who have gone through this at Weimar and other Institutions! I know from personal experience at Weimar that there is (has been) abuse, physical and emotional. The insecurities they cause has affected decisions for future plans and education. It affects the rest of the victims life!

    When Weimar gets wind of a situation, they have gone so far as to use their licenses to diagnose the victim with a mental illness and document it just to cover themselves. They have prescribed psych drugs to young people with lasting affects.

    In the name of Christianity and Adventism people don’t want to “sue their brother/sister”, but the lack of accountability and wrong handling of these situations has allowed a cancer to grow. Maybe they need surgery?

    Maybe too many quiet settlements are the reason for the “shoestring budget”they’re always claiming to survive on. It can’t be because of the low cost and discounts of the lifestyle programs and supplements:)

    Just a side note…for accountability, a full audit of financial and medical records would be healthy too.

    1. Absolutely agree!
      An audit of finances/med records would certainly be an excellent start to unraveling some truths

    1. I agree with the need to protect the student’s confidentiality and at least exclude the graphic descriptions of the harassment (and include trigger warning). This is highly unprofessional.
      Unfortunately, sexual harassment and abuse are not new to the church within educational, congregational and family units. This is yet another wake up call to solidify strict policies about such misconduct, especially toward those in leadership positions. California law requires all employers of 5 or more employees to provide training to its supervisory and nonsupervisory employees on sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention, I sure hope Weimar provides such training to all.
      Physical, sexual, mental, spiritual and financial abuse should be condemned from the church and conference pulpits, support resources available to the victims. The church can no longer remain in denial about these crucial issues. God help us stay current and have wisdom about dealing with these situations.

  10. The issue is not whether Weimar was given insufficient information, or whether they acted with good intention. I know the leadership well enough to believe that they acted in good faith. The issue is that Weimar leadership chose to act as judge and jury of the case instead of placing the accused on full administrative leave and turning the case over to the appropriate civil authorities to do a proper, impartial investigation. Weimar simply does not have adequate policies and procedures in place for handling sexual misconduct, especially among leadership; and its culture of allowing leaders to handle issues internally, and on a case-by-case basis, is not sustainable. Cases like this need to be reported to authorities — anything less is negligence. The handling of this case showcases the shortcomings of Weimar’s current approach to sexual misconduct, and highlights at the very least its need for reforms to its policies and procedures.

    1. I agree that they should have turned this over to the proper authorities. Whether done in bad faith or good faith. I’m very familiar with the men who, in essence, run Weimar. I know firsthand that this is not their first go when it comes to sweeping abuse under the rug. This is common behaviour in an insular community such as Weimar. I firmly believe that sexual abuse is an epidemic in many Adventist communities and I am appalled, but not at all surprised, that this wasn’t handed off to the proper authorities. I see a lot of lawsuits in the Adventist church’s future unless people start learning that it does not pay to cover up things like this.

  11. You should probably pull this off the internet just out of respect for this innocent student. If you are so debased that you are not willing to do that you should at least take out some of the details and leave those in the PDF.

  12. Why do we have a picture of the victim but not the perpetrator? Seems like it would be fair to include his picture as well.

  13. This definitely isn’t the first time lines have been crossed between the staff and their students… I remember the academy had a female choir teacher who crossed boundaries with a student.

  14. “But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.”

    It’s easy to point out the sins of others when they are outlined in a court summons on a website on the world wide web, and even easier to do when no one uses their real name.

    Matthew 18:15-20 (If you read it, notice it doesn’t say to proclaim your qualms anonymously on an internet comment section).

    How would you feel if it was your sins and mistakes being discussed before the audience of the internet?

    Proverbs 22:3

    “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.”

    See, consider, protect yourself and don’t do likewise.

    1. It is easy and NECESSARY to point out wrongdoings, to protect students on an SDA campus with history of hiring sexual predators, and to remove those in power who will change nothing. Or, in my opinion, dismantle the entire place and rebuild better.

  15. “There is a most fearful, fatal deception upon human minds. Because men are in positions of trust, connected with the work of God, they are exalted in their own estimation, and do not discern that other souls, fully as precious in the sight of God as their own, are neglected, and handled roughly, and bruised, and wounded, and left to die.”
    Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 357, 358. . ChL 14.3

  16. No comment . . . just a lot of painful memories of my own wretched history with the SDA religion, and a question : What good is a religion that causes more damage than it heals ?

  17. I’m so saddened by the events portrayed in this article because I knew at some point it would come to this. Weimar has been on a rapid descent and most people associated with Weimar -students and parents and staff recognize this and know where the majority of responsibility lies.

    There have been Achan’s in the camp. Those that I personally know to be godly people over the last 10 years have recognized this and know the spirit isn’t right there.

    The reason it is so hard for people to come forward with the truth about what has been going on behind the scenes is literally the spiritual abuse that has made them think that this is God’s institute and if you speak up you are hurting God’s work.

    For years the needs of the “institute” have held all precedence. Over the individual. Every time.

    Accreditation has been King and God. And Nedley’s personal financial bottom line depends on success at Weimar /good reputation of Weimar/ “look what I’m doing for Weimar”

    The other reason people aren’t speaking up is because there are many good people in the rank and file that sincerely love the Lord and are humbly (and I mean financially humbly) serving the Lord. Their jobs are at risk if they speak out against the corruption in leadership. And those that could speak out are also worried about the impact on their fellow staff and their own families. And with good reason. Many have been hurt badly by speaking up. There was retributive response from the top.

    But sin and pride cannot be hidden without dire results. Obvious to everyone associated with Weimar is the pride that overflows from the top 3 leadership and including a few members of the board (specifically Phil Mills) but what hasn’t been obvious to many in the outside world is the sin that has been harbored underneath under the guise of protecting the institute.

    Many of us are fearful that as the board hurriedly convenes to try to save face for Weimar and even Dr. Nedley himself that no real and lasting change will happen. They may settle out of court and try to sweep all the problems away or make a statement that things will be restructured. But without the removal of Don Mackintosh and Neil Nedley from the operations of Weimar I don’t believe anything will be successful. Too much damage and too much toxicity has gone on to make them effective leaders in any way at this juncture.

    The staff and students have witnessed far too much and the damage will be long lasting. Many prayers have been lifted up for Weimar and God’s reputation – prayers for removal of leadership and protection of the spiritual lives of vulnerable academy and college students who have seen hypocrisy in its fullest and may not even realize the amount of spiritual abuse they have encountered.

    Those of us on the conservative side of Adventism are quick to call sin by it’s name until it comes to a sacred cow like Weimar. It is supposed to be the bastion of righteousness and health. And yet those closely associated have seen anything but this. It saddens us to see the outside world still viewing Weimar and Dr. Nedley and others as holy and amazing and flocking to his programs or sending their children to Weimar’s academy or college thinking it is a safe theological space in the midst of humanism on every side including in Adventism as a whole.

    But this is a false view. Love is lacking in large measure from this campus as far as leadership is concerned. Please please reconsider supporting this institute with dollars or your students until a total change is made and God raises up new leadership and rebuilds a very broken place.

    Here are some of the things that need to be looked at and show a pattern of abuse at the top.

    -The set up of the board giving Nedley so many powers.
    -Nedley has made repeated inappropriate comments about his wife in public settings. Additionally, he made crass jokes at a wedding about a staff and his sister – implying incest and then jokes about removing a skirt from between the “cheeks” of a female. This was a publicly made statement.

    -Mackintosh has dwelt on sexual topics In his marriage and family classes which include high school students for dual credit. An over abundance of discussion about homosexuality instead of bringing whatsoever is pure and holy about marriage etc. to the surface.
    -Mackintosh calling out church members from the pulpit – sometimes in a jesting way but humiliating others.

    -The ignoring by all leadership of complaints of serious misconduct of employees including three separate choir teachers and previous academic dean Allen Davis. It was stated that a PHD was desperately needed to get accreditation status and something would be done about his actions after that.

    -shaming all students that are removed from either side of campus for reasons big or small. For example, telling students not to communicate with kids that have been kicked out and further blocking parents and students from coming on campus. There is a complete lack of love for them or any kind of discipleship. In fact on more than one occasion academy staff have warned students about returning to their sinful homes and parents. In effect making students fear that their own homes aren’t safe, that Weimar is the only bastion of safety.
    Don’t even think about going to other colleges! It would be a sin.

    -kicking employees that they have “let go” or forced into resignation to leave campus with no time to find other housing.

    -changing agreed on salaries and job descriptions and over working employees.

    -repeated poor hiring practices as evidenced by staff at the academy for years and ignoring repeated pleas of parents to have input or a board at the academy. I believe at one point an advisory board was put in place at the academy composed of parents and staff by previous VPAA Dr. Benson which was shutdown immediately by Nedley from having any power or say.

    -mixing of depression recovery and other programs over on the other side of campus where academy students live and have classes. Dr. Nedley and Mrs. Nedley insisted on using the newly built fire pit area that academy students had built for their own programs. Many parents were uncomfortable with having strangers with mental health issues in the spaces where students were.

    -Dr. Nedley’s private for profit businesses are being supported by Weimar- a non-profit. Financial records should be looked into to see if he is paying fair market or close value for use of all the facilities.

    -we have heard of staff and students being forced into his depression recovery program at their own cost or fear losing position.

    -the faculty that this particular administration have hired over the last few years have been problematic. On both sides of campus there has been an emphasis on watching the students with suspicion for any little problem or error – trying to catch them out in sin – instead of coming from a position of trusting and loving them. Guilt and shame are the tool of the day.

    -Mackintosh has blocked speakers from coming or other staff from speaking apparently out of his own pride issues. Multiple cases of people leaving Weimar’s employ because of being pushed out by Don if they became too popular. He is zealous for having control and making sure students don’t go to other churches.

    -it was policy for a while for staff and students to be required to attend at the Weimar church. And requirements for students for TCI and worships are so overbearing that they have little time for personal reflection and studies.

    -many problems securing the accreditation of Weimar. Setting up committee and policies for WASC – the accrediting agency- but not actually holding those meetings. Falsifying compliance with WASC requirements.

    -the dismissal of Dr. Benson should be looked into. He was the first qualified person to run the education department. But his experienced perspective went against top 3 leadership’s desires.

    -Demonizing of parents and staff who went above Nedley’s head to get resolution by addressing Board Chair Phil Mills directly. (Who promptly disregarded the complaints of respected donors, parents and staff and reported back to Dr. Nedley immediately and chastised some of the members who met with him. )

    -coercion of staff and students to take the recent Covid vaccines and boosters including preaching from the pulpit and shaming those who chose not to do so.

    For years there has been no effective way to deal with problems that come up because the problems are with the leadership ultimately and no one has recourse – apparently even to the board. After many of these things took place and no changes or actions ever taken, morale on campus has hit an all time low as there seems to be no place students and employees can go to get help. There is sadly so much more that people could come forward and report. Yes I know that these things need to be verified but the board should be held accountable also for doing a thorough look into all these things.

    Please Weimar Board- for the sake of the true gospel getting out -the gospel of truth, honesty, humility, and love- Remove Nedley and Mackintosh from leadership. Rectify the terrible things that have happened to people on this campus. Do not give us a little glossing over of the issues. A thorough reform must be made. Not just for the sake of salvation of the students but also for the sake of these leaders that have had no consequences for their actions.

    “There is nothing so offensive to God or so dangerous to the human soul as pride and self sufficiency. Of all the sins it is the most hopeless, the most incurable” COL 154 EG White

    I call on staff and students to come forward and share their stories and affirm what has been said here and so much more. Either to the board or to this magazine so that this abscess can burst and begin to heal.

    I invite further comments from those that can affirm what is written here. Let your voice be heard.

  18. I spent over a decade and a half at Weimar working for six difference College and Institute administrations. Lots of good memories, but also not surprised at what has taken place recently. Absolutely not the first time that sexual misconduct took place on campus, with student or staff being the perpetrator, and sadly similar responses by those in responsible positions.

    (Exo 22:22-24)“You shall not take advantage of any widow or fatherless child. If you take advantage of them at all, and they cry at all to me, I will surely hear their cry; and my wrath will grow hot, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless.”

    The KJV states it this way: “Ye shall not afflict (strongs #6031) any widow, or fatherless child.”

    The Hebrew word depicts taking advantage of someone else in a vulnerable position, and includes the idea of sexual misconduct and even rape as found in Lam 5:11 “They ravished (#6031)the women in Zion, and the maids in the cities of Judah.”

    What God is saying in Ex. 22 is that if you don’t deal justly with the evil, He will allow or bring the same evil upon you. I have seen God judge such evil at Weimar before and it would appear that He is allowing judgement to fall again.

    Rather than the rich and increased with goods response from Nedley, Weimar would be better off to offer a humble confession that wrongs have been committed and that a different response should have been taken, and that they are now taking a zero tolerance position moving forward. So far that doesn’t appear to be happening.

    That said, God sometimes allows sin to punish sin. I am not so sure that IntelligentAdventist.com is the hero they are making themselves out to be. Publishing Biven’s letter against his will and using Cancel Culture tactics so prevalent in this social media era will eventually bring similar judgements upon you.

  19. “God will charge those who unwisely expose the mistakes of their brethren with sin of far greater magnitude than He will charge the one who makes a misstep. Criticism and condemnation of the brethren are counted as criticism and condemnation of Christ.” 4BIO 135.4

    Sounds to me like Adrian Zahid will be judged more severely by God than will those engaged in the behaviors revealed in this gossip blog.

    Neither I, nor any other person who loves God and His work, is impressed.

    1. I’m afraid your response shows a lack of understanding of the situations. These aren’t mistakes and missteps. Those are much too light of terms for what has been going on.

      1. I’m afraid, a good portion of what you’ve shared in your initial post is fraught with speculation and innuendo, although some of the claims might have substance. I do believe Weimar is in bad shape and in need of transformation, but to lay it out as you (and others) have done requires solid evidence — proof — and if you’re not able to have these accusations framed into allegations that can be duly investigated and substantiated, then it’s best to keep silent.

        What the young lady who filed the allegations against Dr. Araya and WU has done is show that change is needed and a full house-cleaning is appropriate.

        We must simply pray the proper decisions are made by all.

    2. This is a dangerously faulty take which uses Mrs. White’s quote out of context. There have been so many chances for those in Weimar’s administration who have covered up great injustices to to acknowledge their wrongs, apologize, and attempt to rectify; yet years have gone past and it continues. The pretense of gossip as far as this matter is concerned is patently false. You would rather have these “mistakes” concealed and “dealt with” so as not to hurt the reputation of the “brethren”? The opportunity for that route of resolution is long gone. May God have mercy on those who knowingly put in peril the salvation of His children.

    3. “Everything that Christians do should be as transparent as the sunlight. “ MB 68.3

      The quote you posted from EGW is talking about mistakes…

      There is a massive difference between making a mistake (or misstep) and willfully acting contrary to the character of God.

      Before hammer others with SoP quotes, first take the time to understand them and apply them *accurately*.

      1. Your dad was not innocent in the matter. Some of our dearest friends were treated rotten by him! Cast out and may as well have been discarded with the Monday rubbish!

    4. Shame on you. The abused woman and children would beg to differ. May God bring justice to the victims.

    5. How dare you invoke the Spirit of Prophecy to dismiss criminal behaviour! When the magistrate is called upon to publicly render justice to the victim of sexual assault it is not the time to call it a misstep and seek to condemn those who are looking into the situation. If you are so inclined, see how far you get with this line of reasoning with the county judge.

      #accessorytoassault

      “Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.” Romans 13:2-4

  20. I would like to humbly request we pray earnestly for Weimar, it’s leadership, staff and students.
    None of us are above any of these allegations ourselves. May this be a wake-up call to each of us to make sure our own house is in order.

    It is interesting that I am currently reading “Talking to Strangers” by Malcolm Gladwell. I am struck by the evidence presented here that humanity is wired to trust – regardless of religious preference – or none.

    He says, “We default to truth [believing the perpetrator/liar] — even when that decision carries terrible risks — because we have no choice. Society cannot function otherwise. And in those rare instances where trust ends in betrayal, those victimized by default to truth deserve our sympathy, not our censure.” p. 141.

    It is always easiest to throw stones at this point in the game. What about all the little unreported events that have lead up to this – or the reported and ignored ones? Where were the courageous- the insightful? Melissa seems to be the only one.

    This book has helped me see that invariably abuse continues until the evidence is irrefutable and we have no choice but to accept it.

    This is a human problem.
    (I think it’s because we were not designed for evil being normal. )

    We can afford to have compassion and engage in self-reflection – except for the grace of God, there go I, or my family, or my school or institute.

    1. In reply to MS. Melissa is not the only one who has stepped forward. There are several concerns in the past that have been hidden, dismissed and people that have been marginalized because of the truth.

  21. I love Weimar and am grateful for the years I spent and amazing students that I met there.

    I have met Melissa and I hurt for her. I am praying for complete restoration of her heart and soul, and praise God for her strength.

    Even as I type this I am sure Dr. Nedley and Elder Mackintosh have sought legal counsel on how to shut this forum down….May Gods will be done.

    In reading the message from concerned my memory was once again brought back to the wedding reception where Dr. Nedley MC’d and the inappropriate “jokes” (not just one) he told. It was appalling and embarrassing for the listeners. Initially, I counted it as a faux pas yet it continued….throughout the reception. Often times in depression recovery programs he would share intimate details of time with his wife. Yes, they were cringe moments!

    There were three men in leadership that knew of concerns regarding an Academic dean and ostracized one of the individuals who came forward. They still hired him because all of his references were glowing. His references came from an organization he had been released from.

    I’m afraid there’s so much….Just not sure if IA is the place to share. And I mean no offense to IA….just wanting to do what’s right.

  22. A Proposal

    – Close Weimar’s doors, immediately, for one year at a minimum
    – Put the university on suspension with WASC
    – Terminate Nedley and Mackintosh, and possibly the current VPAA, Dr. Harris
    – Disallow Nedley Health to operate on campus, i.e., DR and his personal clinic
    – Request Elder Mark Woodson suspend Mackintosh indefinitely, pending an investigation on account of spiritual abuse
    – Disband the board, except for two members chosen via lots
    – The two members would bring on Dr. Randy Bivens, and the three of them would select 4-5 additional members to form a fact-gathering & decision-making panel on whether or not to keep Weimar functioning in all capacities
    – During the time of closure, hire a disinterested third party (non-SDA) to thoroughly investigate ALL accusations set forth in this thread and determine whether or not they are substantiated
    – If substantiated, then take the appropriate action, as required by law, in keeping with the statute of limitations
    – If Weimar is to be closed for good, then have the property sold to the state or even the church, and the money given to feed and house the homeless
    – If substantiated, then take the appropriate action, as required by law, in keeping with the statute of limitations
    – If Weimar is to be closed for good, then have the property sold to the state or even the church, and the money given to feed and house the homeless

  23. This is A LOT more than sexual harassment. This is sexual assault! He assaulted this woman! Why would they keep a criminal (which is exactly what he is) on staff???

    1. This is a massive overcorrection because it harms the innocent who have nothing to do with the problem. Many innocent teachers and other staff who simply did not know such problems existed will lose their jobs if weimar suddenly shuts down. Not to mention the students who will all have to find new colleges to go to as taking a gap year in the middle of college isn’t usually a good idea. I agree, lots of things need to be done, namely a massive admin overhaul, but flat-out closing down the school will hurt more than help.

    2. Also, putting the university on suspension with WASC only hurts students who need to transfer credits to another university. It’s an unnecessary overcorrection that doesn’t solve the problem.

  24. I am quoting from a beautiful blog by Jennifer Jill :
    organizations wholly devoted to rebuking the church can become acrimonious and counter-evangelistic. Biblically, the gifts of discernment and prophecy (1 Cor. 12; 1 Tim. 4:2) take place connected to the body, as part of Jesus’ overarching, all-important call to build the kingdom of God on earth. If a ministry’s sole purpose is to call out sin in the church, it will be impelled to find sin in order to validate its existence. This can lead to exaggeration and sensationalism, a stretching of the truth in order to feed a marketable narrative. It can also taint the hearts of the “whistleblowers” with a self-righteous spirit.
    Church can’t be a safe place while it’s a safe place for unsafe people. Therefore, rebuke of unsafe people is needed. But if the rebukers themselves, by revealing a disposition to vindictively and haphazardly expose private and delicate matters, themselves become unsafe, we have again made the church unsafe.
    I work in abuse prevention and response within the Seventh-day Adventist Church. I understand the need for dealing strongly with hidden sin, particularly sexual sin. But I’ve often pondered the fact that Jesus didn’t publicly expose Simon the Pharisee, who had sexually abused Mary Magdalene. Through a parable He revealed His knowledge of Simon’s guilt, but rather than lay him out before his brethren, he gave the man a chance to repent.
    Here are some helpful words from Desire of Ages (441). The author speaks of Jesus’ Matthew 18 method, and how to handle the sin of an individual who has been disfellowshipped. It illuminates the broader issue of sin in the church beautifully:
    “But it is to the wrongdoer himself that we are to present the wrong. We are not to make it a matter of comment and criticism among ourselves; nor even after it is told to the church, are we at liberty to repeat it to others. A knowledge of the faults of Christians will be only a cause of stumbling to the unbelieving world; and by dwelling upon these things, we ourselves can receive only harm; for it is by beholding that we become changed. While we seek to correct the errors of a brother, the Spirit of Christ will lead us to shield him, as far as possible, from the criticism of even his own brethren, and how much more from the censure of the unbelieving world. We ourselves are erring, and need Christ’s pity and forgiveness, and just as we wish Him to deal with us, He bids us deal with one another.”

  25. “For among my people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men. As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit: therefore they are become great, and waxen rich. They are waxen fat, they shine: yea, they overpass the deeds of the wicked: they judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge.” Jeremiah 5:26-28

    The fig leaves are withering… May God judge those who have confederated together to cover their devious ways with “works of righteousness.”

    I’ve been profoundly wronged by leading men at the helm of Weimar as well. The wickedness there is not only confined to sexual predation. The worst part about all of this is that Weimar is considered by many as the Gold Standard among conservative Adventist education.

    To the Weimar triumvirate that rules over the lives of its subjects: How many young people have you turned aside from following God’s path? How many staff and faculty have you demeaned and derided for following conscientious conviction? How many abuses and sins have you swept under the rug in you march to the supremacy?

    You may recover from this specific incident, but unless you turn from your wicked ways you will never hear that commendation that is above all accreditation: “well done thou good and faithful servant.”

Leave a Reply to VT Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.