This page presents statements made and actions taken by the Seattle Pacific University Board of Trustees since January 2021. The documents, arranged in reverse chronological order, have been selected to provide context in regard to the employment of LGBTQIA+ individuals and other human sexuality issues on campus. All of these documents were made widely available to the SPU community and sometimes also to the general public. In some documents, certain information, names, and links have been redacted for the sake of personal privacy or institutional confidentiality.
Board Chair Kato’s Letter to the Editors of Inside Higher Ed, Defending SPU’s Suit against Attorney General
On August 16, 2022, SPU Board Chair Dean Kato published a letter to the editors of Inside Higher Ed, arguing that Josh Moody’s article “Seattle Pacific Sues Washington AG” (8/1/2022) misrepresents the motives and purpose of SPU’s suit against the Attorney General of Washington.
SPU Announcement of Legal Action against the Attorney General of Washington
On July 28, 2022, Interim President Menjares informed the SPU community that in response to a probe from the Attorney General’s Office, the University has asked a federal court to defend its right to keep its internal communications private and to “protect our freedom to hire employees on the basis of religion.” Despite the disagreement on LGBTQ issues, the letter contends SPU “can be united in our desire to protect to defend the University’s right within the law to hire to mission within a voluntary community based on a shared framework of faith.”
Board Response to Student Sit-In Demands
On July 1, 2022, the Board responds to the demands of the students’ Demaray Hall sit-in protest. Board Chair Dean Kato reiterates that “we believe these longstanding employee expectations are consistent with the University’s mission and Statement of Faith that reflect a traditional view on biblical marriage and sexuality, as an expression of long-held orthodox church teaching.”
Overview of May 2022 Board Meeting: History of Statement of Faith, Resignations, Faculty Chair Report
On May 25, 2022, Interim President Menjares shared an overview and reports from the May board meeting. The overview highlights Dr. Rick Steele’s presentation to the board on the history of SPU’s Statement of Faith; the resignations of trustees Dr. Tina Chang, Dr. Denise Martinez, and Kevin Johnson; trustee re-elections and officer elections; progress in the financial sustainability groups; and the Faculty Chair Report.
BOT Town Hall
On May 24, 2022, Interim President Menjares announced that the Board of Trustees would hold a town hall on May 26, 2022, with the full SPU community to answer their questions about the decision. Interim President Pete Menjares and Board members Dean Kato, Deborah Wilds, Matt Whitehead, and George Parker attend. Questions were submitted beforehand and curated by Provost Laura Hartley and Faculty Chair Dr. April Middeljans, who both also moderated the session.
FAQ of Board Decision 2022
On May 23, 2022, SPU administration posts an FAQ regarding the Board’s decision to maintain the conduct policy.
Board of Trustees Decision to Maintain Conduct Policy, 2022
On May 23, 2022, the SPU Board of Trustees announced that they will continue to maintain the sexual conduct policy that prohibits same-sex activity for employees.
Rinedahl Settlement Announcement
On May 4, 2022, Interim President Menjares announces that SPU has settled the lawsuit brought by Jeaux Rinedahl in January 2021.
Shared Governance Workshop in February 2022 Meeting
At the Board meeting on February 24, 2022, the Board of Trustees, members of Faculty Council, senior leadership, and the deans participated in a shared governance workshop led by consultant Andy Westmoreland of Venture International.
Board Outcomes from November 2021 Meeting: Apology & Urgency
On November 23, 2021, the Board acknowledged that “communication with the campus community last spring was inadequate” and pledged to build on “the Faculty LGBTQIA+ Task Force’s sense of urgency to engage in discussions around LGBTQIA+ issues in the weeks and months ahead.”
Overview of November 2021 Board Meeting: Terms of 3 Board Members Extended, new FMC Member Elected
On November 22, 2021, the Interim President announced that the Board voted to grant one-year term extensions to three Board members “to provide continuity during this interim leadership period.”
Board’s Priorities: Mission, Strategic Vision, & Presidential Search
On September 23, 2021, the Board affirmed that they are committed to an ongoing conversation with the SPU community with the help of Venture International. They also asserted that they are focused on three major priorities: approving and ensuring the fulfillment of SPU’s mission, approving and supporting the strategic direction and vision of SPU, and electing a President.
Board’s Expected Outcomes from Consultant Process
On September 7, 2021, Interim President Menjares announced the hiring of Venture International, consultants with expertise in crisis management and higher ed governance. Expected outcomes included building trust and understanding amongst SPU constituents, renewing the Board’s understanding of healthy board governance practices, and providing context and guidance for decision-making regarding critical issues facing SPU. VI conducted over 70 on-campus interviews with trustees, senior leadership, faculty, and staff; they also reviewed numerous institutional documents to assess the health of the Board and the institution. The consultants identified six critical issues facing SPU; they presented their findings to the Board at their November 2021 meeting and to faculty and staff at forums held December 1, 2021.
Board Appoints Pete Menjares as Interim President
On June 28, 2021, the Board announced the appointment of Dr. Pete Menjares, a current Board member, as Interim President of SPU.
Tribute to Board of Trustees Member Gary Ames
On May 13, 2021, long-time Board member and generous donor Gary Ames unexpectedly passed away. Since 2001, the Ames Scholarship and Ames Leadership Program have supported SPU students coming from underrepresented backgrounds; Gary often expressed his hope that an Ames Scholar would one day serve on SPU’s board, and this hope was realized when former Ames Scholars Dr. Denise Martinez and Kevin Johnson joined the board.
Board of Trustees Reply to Faculty Statement of No Confidence
On April 26, 2021, in response to the April 19th Statement of No Confidence from Faculty Senate, the Board of Trustees informed faculty that no further explanation of the Board decision will be offered at present, due to litigation.
Board of Trustees Decision to Maintain Conduct Policy, 2021
On April 12, 2021, Board Chair Cedric Davis announced in an online employee forum that “after careful consideration and thoughtful review, to remain in alignment with the Board’s understanding of SPU’s statement of faith and to remain affiliated with the Free Methodist Church, the Board declined to change SPU’s employment policy related to human sexuality.” This transcript of Chair Davis’s remarks was constructed by a Faculty Council member from a recording of the forum.
President Dan Martin’s Resignation
On March 30, 2021, President Dan Martin announced his resignation from Seattle Pacific University, effective immediately.