Annotated: Statement by the Board of Trustees of Weimar University
Note: In bold font are annotations by Adrian Zahid. We republished the Weimar University Board of Trustees statement here.
“In our just concluded three-day board meeting, there has been an extensive and prayerful review of concerns as well as affirmations from various sources, including students, parents, faculty, alums, and other constituents.”
AZ: The board hints to a review of “concerns as well as affirmations” from “various sources.” Did they call students, parents, faculty, alums, and other constituents into the meeting to hear directly from them? Did they read all the comments on this site and other platforms elsewhere? Or did they only hear directly from individuals who had access to their private phone numbers and emails?
“In recognition of our humanity and a great need for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the board sought wisdom through multiple periods of prayer and study of the inspired counsels. During the expression of many different opinions and candid discussions, the board is grateful for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.”
AZ: This line sets the rest of the document as “guidance from the Holy Spirit.” How could anyone question the guidance since it is Divinely Infallible?
“Some issues were already being addressed, and changes were already in process by the administration as presented to the board.”
AZ: Was Pr. Don Mackintosh demoted? There was no statement of confidence in this document for his role and leadership.
“We also were led to make additional positive changes. We are excited about the trajectory of Weimar University for the future.”
AZ: The administration’s 3-Day charm offensive worked. However, with a reported loss of 40 students, I’m unclear about the reason for the board’s excitement here. Perhaps the trajectory is the future of Weimar U as a feeder school for Southern Adventist University.
“We want to affirm our confidence in Dr. Neil Nedley, President;”
AZ: The Main Reason we are reading this statement.
“We also affirm our confidence in Dr. Jesson Martin, our new VPAA, with the shared governance and communication structures he is implementing in the University.
The board spent time with the leadership of Weimar Academy, reviewing their needs. We are looking forward to the recently formed Academy Governance Committee providing guidance and policies on an ongoing basis.”
AZ: The new governance committee formation might be the beginning of the Academy being put under a separate corporation to mitigate cross-institution or system-wide liability risk. If undertaken, this would be a wise move.
“The board expresses their appreciation for the fine, dedicated students attending Weimar University and their families’ sacrifices.”
AZ: The sacrifices by parents and students have been profound and, in some cases, faith and life-altering. The board has weighed the cost of these sacrifices and has determined them to be the cost of doing business.
“We also believe that Weimar is served by excellent and committed faculty and staff, to whom we express our confidence and gratitude.”
AZ: Indeed. There are excellent professors and staff at Weimar U.; some have shared their deep concerns about the administration and the culture on campus on this website.
“Finally, we continue to be enthusiastic and supportive of the mission of Weimar University.”
AZ: The statement omitted any mention of the current lawsuit. It was a missed opportunity to reassure the students that Weimar University is where their physical safety is their highest priority and that the board cares about their spiritual well-being.
Without an objective analysis of the many issues raised in the lawsuit and resignation letters before and since the case became public knowledge, the board’s enthusiasm and support alone will not help the university’s mission succeed.
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Photo sourced from here.
As a Weimar insider, I read both the board statement and AZ’s commentary on it with interest. I saw some areas where his perspective appears to be fairly close to the facts as observed from within the institution, though in other areas he hits quite wide of the mark. With your indulgence I’ll add a few words of comment to his.
Yes, the board did actually call a number of individuals into their meeting to hear their concerns. I do not have the details as to who or how many were called but I do know that it was more than 1 or 2. In addition, I am aware that some board members sought and received written comment from many more individuals. Whether or not these were shared in the meeting I have no way of knowing. As far as reading the comments on IA and other sites, I have been told by a reliable source that the board is very well acquainted with the substance of the comments found here and elswhere on the subject.
I would have to agree with AZ that the statement concerning guidance from the Holy Spirit does sort of lean on the scales as it were in relation to interpreting the remainder of the document, daring the reader to differ with the conclusions of the statement only at the risk of rejecting His guidance. I am skeptical as to whether or not this was intentional in the sense AZ implies. This may simply reflect the mode of thinking common among board members and what I believe is their genuine belief that they are following God’s leading. I am in no way implying whether or not the board, despite it’s express desire to follow The Spirit’s leading, actually managed to do so. Whether they did or not is not something any of us should speculate on. Only God knows the heart and we have no right to pronounce judgement here.
The question of what happens to Pastor Mackintosh is interesting. It seems that he officially has been relieved of some responsibilities however there has not been any real observable difference in his interactions around campus. He still wields considerable influence both within the university as well as in the church and it’s programs. Only time will tell what change will come there. I don’t expect to hear any proclamations expecially given the relative lack of transparency in the process thus far.
There was definitely a “charm offensive” mounted but sources tell me it was not as convincing to board members as the public statement would imply. The cited loss figure of 40 students is not accurate as far as I am aware. In both graduate and undergraduate programs the number of students expected to return that did not do so was 26 to 28 from what I can determine. This is less than AZ cites but is still enough to be of concern going forward.
The affirmation of confidence in Dr Nedley was what we sort of expected to hear but hoped might be a little less enthusiastic. That being said, I observed Dr Nedley at several subsequent public interactions and he seemed quite a bit more subdued in manner than I have come to expect. In the past he usually came across with a self confidence bordering on arrogance. That level of bravado was markedly toned down all last week. This leads me to believe that while the public message from the board was a fairly strong endorsement, their private interactions with him may have been more intense than we realize.
The academy governance committee is not as new as it seems. The committee was actually formed originally under previous VPAA Dr Verlyn Benson. His goal was to improve both the academic quality and to regularize the management of the academy to be more policy based. This had quite a meaningful effect while he was in charge of the college program but was mostly abandoned after he was pushed out. It seems to have been revived in the wake of what can only be characterized as a wholly avoidable disciplinary disaster.
Concerning the “sacrifices” of Weimar students and their families, I think you may be reading more into the statement than the board members were thinking. I believe they were mostly thinking of the heavy financial cost burden and never connected the dots to some of the other, more serious sacrifices. Myopia of this sort is not unusual and is hardly limited to Weimar.
There have been and continue to be excellent professors and staff who shared (and continue to share) their concerns and perspective. We are more than a little bit discouraged at the moment though many of us are still praying that there will yet be a proper reckoning for those responsible for the situation we now face.
While the board seems to be oblivious to the lawsuit faced by Weimar U. I can understand why they appear to ignore it. Remember, no lawyer wants their client to comment on pending litigation. The board is doing nothing more than following their lawyers’ advice. This makes the outcome of the current litigation all the more important to the future of Weimar University. It may be the only way those in leadership can be effectively called to account.
Thanks for your comment.
This website is a dumpster fire lol