Weimar University Board Member Resignation Letter

IA received this letter through our whistleblower & news tips link. In his resignation letter, Weimar University board member, David Butler, cited a lack of confidence in the Weimar Administration “due to poor choices in background checks and hiring practices, which has resulted in hiring sexual predators, delinquent staff, staff demeaning the students and hurting the culture of Weimar.” The letter cites other issues at Weimar Academy, including bullying from the pulpit, and Academy students sadly at risk of leaving the Adventist church because of the “spiritual concentration camp” atmosphere on campus. We are sharing this letter as it adds further insight into the reactions of the University administration to the sexual harassment lawsuit filed by Melissa Osadchuck.

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  1. I know Mackintosh, at the very least, is aware of this forum and has interacted on it in the past couple of months. I sincerely hope that both he and Nedley are at least somewhat scared of losing their power now that things are starting to come out and people are starting to resign. These guys need to go. Mackintosh especially has always been a bully – albeit one with more bark than bite.

    1. Both need to go. Both have lost sight of reality and of the negative impact they’ve had on students, faculty, and staff. However, because we’re dealing with narcissism and low EQ in both cases, neither will step down willingly. I think students, faculty, and staff should vote with their collective feet and take away their power and control.

  2. The first time I went to Weimar, I was just visiting. At the time, I was probably what the administration would consider “worldly”. I listened to rock music and dressed in a way they would have found inappropriate. Despite this, I remember feeling like the Weimar kids were more “worldly”, even though they were dressed in accordance with SOP and eating in accordance with SOP, etc. There was something different about them though. They were the ones talking and exposing me to things I was pretty much sheltered from. As my family became more invested in the self-supporting movement and conservative Adventism I was more exposed to the dark side of religious organizations . Looking back, I wish my parents would have seen through the facade of radical idealism embraced by conservative Adventist. But they found belonging and comfort in it, the walls they were so eager to find protection with were the same ones that hid bad people and dark secrets. I don’t understand why someone would send their child hundreds of miles away from home to live with people they hardly know because “they don’t read fiction”, “they only sing hymns”, “they don’t play competitive sports”. These are outward appearances and incredibly shallow reasons. I think every parent wants to protect their kids, but do it from things that are actually painful. Choose fiction reading assignments, soccer, and 2% milk over your child being raised by dangerous religious demagogues. The best thing anyone can do in any relationship is to cultivate trust by being emotionally safe. Walls never protect, only hide. As a kid who went to an academy, I would really encourage any parent considering sending their child away, to instead think of ways you can give your teenager more “leash” without sending them to live in an authoritarian microcosm . Nothing will protect your kid more than taking a good honest look at yourself and getting real with your past and why you find these environments appealing. I wish my parents had been emotionally available. Please allow your kids to be vulnerable even if it makes you uncomfortable or scared. Be that safe space. Most every friend I had during academy, did not have that with their parents. Their parents hid behind a cloak of self-righteous religion born from deep insecurity. Today, these parents crave relationships with their adult children. These kids don’t trust their parents nor the church they were brought up in. Because neither were honest and vulnerable about the nuance of life. They painted everything incredibly black and white, and it all seemed like a lie when you came out the other side. Like some dark twisted fairy tale, a secret society, a place to put your personality in a box so you fit into their corner, we all lost ourselves in some way. I am grateful this man pulled his children out of this school, and I hope more parents do the same. Mostly, I hope parents find meaningful ways to connect with their teenagers. Even though my parents weren’t perfect, they were more reasonable, loving, and honest than the people who raised me at academy. Any parent can be that and much more if they are honest and humble.

    1. I am a faculty on Campus. Majority of students, staff and faculty have respect for pastor Mackintosh and Dr. Nedley. Otherwise these two would be gone long ago. Weimar University is a big operation now with more than 100 staff and faculty on campus and ca. 300 students. What you see here in the comments are a dozen of disgruntled apples and their parents and friends with liberals exulting as they have personal bias against Weimar. Shimei throwing stones at David comes to mind. Are Nedley and Mackintosh perfect? No. Have they made some errors in 12 years of their ministry? Of course. All of us have. I think this small crisis will help Weimar leadership get more focused in service. On the other hand Bivens was such a bully for years and everyone is happy he is gone.

      1. I too work at Weimar University and strongly support it’s mission and purpose. I am, however, concerned by what appears to be too narrow and simplistic response to the criticism leveled against our leaders. It may well be true that those making critical statements concerning our leaders are biased against us. Some certainly are, however, this alone does not invalidate their critical comments. The test we must apply to these critical comments is not a question of who made them or of what motivated them so much as it is a question of whether or not the criticisms contained therein are true and what constructive recourse can they enlighten.

        I have worked with Drs Nedley and Bivens as well as with Pastor Mackintosh. I see all three as having a genuine desire to do right. None of them have executed their roles ideally. Dr Nedley, while admirably championing the Adventist health message and seeking to apply it to both physical and mental health, exhibits in his own management style, many of the traits of what he calls low EQ. He gives a strong impression of arrogant overconfidence while showing little trust in subordinates to do their jobs without continual micromanagement. He is also prone to operating the university by what he calls “executive decisions” which often short circuit policies and processes that have been put in place with good reason by committees constituted specifically to design fair and inclusive policies and processes. This is not to say that “executive decisions” should never be made or used. There are exceptional cases where they are necessary. The problem comes when rule by decree becomes the norm rather than the well justified exception. This is where Dr Nedley’s management style is problematic. Dr Bivens, while he was here, was often seen as also having autocratic tendencies. He had a maddening habit of giving a draconian order before carefully considering all the consequences that would follow from it. That being said, he was not a bad administrator in many ways and brought a lot of management experience to the table that might have been helpful for other administrators to listen to. His hard questions for his administrative colleagues were rightly intended to make them think carefully about issues. Finally, Pastor Mackintosh. I believe that he is also one who genuinely believes that he is doing the right thing for Weimar University. What concerns me is his overzealous desire to grow the church by baptizing new members while failing to see the need to provide spiritual support for those already within the church. I am also troubled by his tendency to chide from the pulpit those who have stood in disagreement with him. This is not simply a charge I repeat because I have seen it in print but something that I have repeatedly witnessed firsthand. The pulpit should never be used as a weapon in this way. His overzealous focus on specific forms of personal evangelism as the only legitimate measure of one’s own spiritual development has cost the university many students over the past year and may well cost some students their eternal lives as they have become embittered against the church as a result of his mischaracterization of what it means to be a Seventh-day Adventist christian.

        The crisis facing us at Weimar is far from the “small crisis” referenced by commenter “Weimar faculty”. In fact it may well be an existential crisis for the institution. I, for one, pray that our board of directors will wrestle with the difficult issues and make the hard choices needed to restore faith and trust in our leadership from faculty, staff, and students. What happens beginning this coming Thursday may well determine the fate of the institution and the work that I personally consider a vital tool to spread the Gospel.

        Consider this prayerfully.

        1. Dr. Zivandinovic, it’s apparent that you are “Weimar Faculty”. Your writing style is known from your outspoken bullying on Facebook. I would recommend connecting with students more often, as you would become more aware and in tune with their experience at Weimar. 300 students? Please. There aren’t more than 140, and that’s including post-grads. As for the “dozen of disgruntled apples and liberals”, that’s enough to know that you’re part of the problem.

      2. @Weimar faculty. I’m not sure what universe you’re living in, but I think you’d be hard-pressed to prove the numbers of faculty/staff and students you’ve proffered.

        Here’s the bottom line: Weimar is a cult. Period.

        The brown-nosing support you’ve given to Nedley and Mackintosh, only serves to show the world you’re wearing blinders. Perhaps such misplaced allegiance is based upon a concern you might lose your livelihood or have your apple cart upset should the place close (which it should). I’ve found, many of the ultra-conservative folk, when extracted from their cultish surroundings, often flounder, due to poor mental health and low EQ. I surmise, you might be another of the many bricks in the wall the dysfunctional leadership of Nedley and Mackintosh has sought to build, so to maintain power, position, and control.

      3. @weimarfaculty There are few faculty that would use your syntax and your use of words. So, I know who you are and I am sorry that you have distorted the truth and minimized the damage from what you estimate is a dozen students and their parents. I am also surprised that you would state that everyone is happy I am gone. Still distorting the truth! I willingly donated a decade of my life trying to lift up Weimar but now you want me to think that it was all for naught? I pray that God will give you a more forgiving spirit.

        1. Dear Dr. Bivens,

          Since there are no notifications to this thread, I have not seen your response to my comment until now. I do have to admit that my comment was insensitive and slightly inaccurate. (BTW, with the nickname “Weimar Faculty” I was not really trying to hide my identity either).

          I admit that it is not Christ-like to say that everyone is happy that you are gone. I erred. Also, it is not exactly accurate. I know this hurts to hear, but what I meant to say is that everyone I talked with about your resignation were sort of relieved.

          Dr. Bivens, please believe I always had nothing but respect for you. This absolutely does not undermine 10 sacrificial years you gave to Weimar. Your work at Weimar was God-sent and you did lots of good. I, for one, wish you were here but with a different attitude. You were one of my favorite teachers and your charismatic presence is a great gift if used properly. I know that I am not beyond criticism, I am very fallible, and I need to improve as a teacher and I hope you could say the same about your administration abilities.

          Please accept my sincere apology for not exhibiting proper Christian spirit in my comment. I posted in a rush and there was no edit button. I hope you can call me, and I can apologize to you in person.

          Your friend and brother

          Dr. Z

          1. How contrived. How utterly insincere. How patronizing. You should never again be permitted to work in a college setting.

            1. 1. Contrived? Only by my conscience that convicted me that I was hurting my brother in public. For that I repented, humbled myself and publicly apologized.

              2. Insincere ? How do you know? Do you presume to be God and know motives and hearts?

              3. Patronizing? I don’t think you know the meaning of the word. I am not being condescending of exhibiting an attitude of superiority.

              It seems that you define a criticism of someone else’s behavior to you as patronization. If that is patronizing then your comments to me are extremely patronizing.

              4. I should not teach? Yet, I am here teaching full time in College. I am the church elder and Sabbath school co-ordinator. The teacher council stands behind me, along the leadership and the board. I have been teaching for 7 years now and my student evaluation is among the best in the College. Virtually all students enjoy my classes. Are they all evil and you are the only one right about me?

              I am really sorry you have such a warped view of who I am, what I do, and what I teach. Would you please call me to talk to me in person and pray with me as true Christian ? I hope you do as I want to hear your detailed concerns.

              God bless you

          2. Dojcin:

            James 1:26
            If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless

            James 4:11-12
            Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?

            I’m speaking to myself with these verses, as well as to you.
            May we all learn to “bridle” our tongues

      4. Small crisis? A sexual assault? The entire board revealing their consistent and ongoing issues with the institute? Get your priorities in line.

  3. This next Thursday, Sept. 22, will be the start of the Weimar University board meeting. It would be prudent for us all, no matter what opinion we hold, to lift our hearts in sincere pray for change and healing. There are big issues that need to be addressed and actions executed. Our hearts need to be open to see a way of discernment, respect and wisdom. Collective humility can/will allow power to be received. God help us!

  4. Regarding David Butler’s letter— he speaks to a lot of issues that many parents and students have struggled with at Weimar for years. As hopeful parents, we just imagined that if we spoke up and enlightened the principal or administrators, that things would be fixed and it would be a great school. Alas, that never happened.

    Even back in the “golden era” of Chad’s reign, kids felt like they were walking around on egg shells always worried about getting kicked out, for even small infractions. There was a certain staff member that really pushed this ideology ( who now is on staff at the college).
    For two years , recently, there were no expelled students . Last year was different, when the kids were entrapped at the camp out. Most parents and students felt that was handled wrong and were worried that the academy was heading back to the “good ol’ days.”

    Another parent had the same issue that David had with trying to contact Laura, the principal, and Dr. Nedley. They would not return emails or phone calls. She wanted to understand why her son was kicked out, but was not given any answers. It has been very hurtful to them.

    And it’s true that Pastor Mackintosh spoke from the pulpit in a very shaming way, just a few days following this incident. One teacher from here left the service and went to her car to cry. . Others left sitting in the audience were completely aghast.

    Dr. Bivens was the one person that we could talk to in administration. He would answer our calls and emails— quickly. He would do what he could, but at times he said his hands were tied. He said it was up to Dr. Nedley. He held the power and had the final say.

    We parents who only wanted the best for our kids and have sacrificed much to place them in a good school, feel betrayed and even hoodwinked. We pray that God will have mercy and shine a light on our children and heal whatever parts have been hurt or even damaged from attending school at Weimar.

  5. Seems to be a common problem with Dr. Nedley not responding. This has happened to several other people that I know. Disappointing.

    1. I attended during chads era. There was always gossip of how many people had gotten kicked out the year before. Stories went around. Then come second semester we had a flood of expulsions from academy. Kids were brought to a staff meeting while the teachers voted, in their presence, whether or not to kick them out. The lack of trust and sense of “waiting to be caught messing up” was enormous and brought overwhelming anxiety regarding authority figures. This in and of itself is mental abuse.

      1. Sarah, my heart breaks for you. I know many of the parents mean well by sending their kids to what on the surface appears to be a good school. Sadly, these kids are abused via the spiritual abuse. “Be good or we’ll kick you out, and oh by the way, you’re going to hell, if you do get expelled.”

        What needs to happen is, parents need to wake up and smell the coffee! Get your kids out of the hands of those who don’t have their best interest at heart. Krum doesn’t. Nedley doesn’t. Mackintosh doesn’t. Stop giving them your hard-earned money and validating their abuse; moreover, godless spirit.

  6. May God have mercy on you all! Look at yourselves. Pointing at the spec in other people’s eyes while you walk around with planks in your eyes! None of you are God and can read the motives of another man’s heart. Judgment is left to God and on that final day none of the comments on this website matter. With what measure you judge it shall be measured unto you. Take a hard look in the mirror and if you are sinless cast the 1st stone. Everyone has a right to their own opinion, but how dare you judge without knowing both sides of the story. You think you know it because of the articles intelligent adventist has published. But it’s highly biased, it’s not investigative journalism. It’s called Gossip.

    Have a great day y’all and May we look look at our own sins before casting the first stone at others.

    1. It’s not exactly “judging without knowing both sides of the story” when Araya has admitted to it. Furthermore, I think it’s entirely fair to criticize an organization that has abused scores of students and refuses to take accountability for the bad faith actors that run it. Sexual assault is no small matter and the Adventist church has a long history of pretending that it is. Time for Nedley, Mackintosh, and Mills to do the right thing for once and step down. I feel absolutely no sympathy for the institution and don’t feel bad about harshly judging their response to this situation whatsoever.

  7. What is love? “And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him. Then he questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing. And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused him. And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate. And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves.”
    ‭‭Luke‬ ‭23:8-12‬ ‭KJV‬‬
    Why do I choose this verse. Because we are living in it. It’s the choice that many of us our facing in our world today. It’s the choice of who will we love, Jesus, or the world. Pilate and Herod chose to be friends with the world. They did not receive the gift that Jesus was wanting to give them. His life was the miracle He was freely giving. Yet today how many times do we not receive that same death and would rather die with the world then to die for Christ. I pray that all of us on this campus and in the church would learn to die for Christ and die for each other.

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