Presidential Plagiarism Accusations Surface at WAU

Note that the complaint found two instances (nos. 2 and 8) in the dissertation where it appears that, not only were the words in question not identified as quotations, the authors were not cited. This should never come close to happening in doctoral work. Regardless of the president’s performance, the academic integrity on which the university’s reputation depends requires that these accusations be taken seriously.


Steve, in an institution where there was mutual trust, it would be normal for the faculty/staff to take their concerns to the board. The faculty do not have that possibility at WAU. They are not allowed to contact board members nor are their concerns conveyed to the board by the administration. For their part, many of the board members turn a deaf ear to issues raised by faculty such as proper procedure being followed in terminations, academic matters, and so forth. The situation is not healthy.


“The situation is not healthy.” Agreed Barry.
It raises a number of questions:

  1. What kind of example does it actually set students?
    (who are given very clear instructions re. plagiarism, I’m certain)
  2. Was anonymity chosen because whistleblowers usually are targeted with
    abuse, and worse – THEY become the collateral damage in the situation?
  3. Will the investigation become a replica of the SID affair,
    with much of the actual information denied, ‘lost’, or ‘swept under the carpet’?

Barry –
Thanks for the enlightenment.
From what you described, it seems members of the Board do not
take their appointment seriously, or Union Policies interfere.
If institutions of higher learning do not keep up with the times, then
nostalgia should not prevent them from closing altogether.


Jeremy, you can come up with any excuse you want to deny EGW’s undeniable plagiarism. Lawyers? Sure… I have seen them performing around… Have you ever met one that you can trust?*

Besides,do we really need them to check if copying texts from other sources and publishing it as one’s own is acceptable behavior? It’s assigning one’s own authorship to something that belongs to others. If this is not stealing property, what is?

We have been through this several times before. You probably just C&P’ed your post above, as a standard response to any reference to EGW’s plagiarism. If this is really the case, it is OK, since you are using your own text. I do not think you are plagiarizing… LOL

Fact is:

  1. For me, what she did is plagiarism, or call it whatever you want, but it is not morally correct no matter what lawyers say. (Is actually professional morality their “forte?”… Really?..)
  2. You decided to accept her writings as if they were at the same level of inspiration as the Bible, no matter what disturbing facts could be found about her writings.
  3. I decides to go with “Sola Scriptura,” you opted for EGW’s theological authority. And we belong to the same Church.
  4. I call you a Whiteist SDA, and myself a Biblical SDA. Let’s move on!!!

*There may be a few of them out there, but I never met one. Therefore, I always wonder… :thinking: :innocent:

PS - I accessed the link you provided. When I read the first paragraph, I quit. Why? Well, any reader here can come to their own conclusions about it, thus I quote:

" Did Ellen White plagiarize?

No, she did not. We will prove it in the following pages. We will show that an exhaustive six-year study of Desire of Ages, headed by a man who did not like her writings, found that she did not copy anything at all from other books!"

This is what I call BS (Beautiful Statement), but completely nuts. And you refer to that to defend your belief? Astonishing! :astonished: :astonished: :astonished:
Rea’s book is the only book I ever read twice. The content was so disturbing to my faith at that time that I wanted to revisit it …

By the way,

Did you read Walter Rea’s book, "The White Lie?"
Yes ____ NO ____


yes, the desire of ages study is certainly interesting, including veltman’s conclusion that egw’s sources used each other in the same way she used them…but the ramik report, in my mind, is the more important one because it present’s the legal case…it explores thoroughly the historical context of egw’s work and what copyright law was at that time…

i think lawyers can be trusted once we understand their purposes and assumptions…take rudy giuliani, for instance…we all know he’s trying to save donald trump from himself…on the other hand, we know that robert mueller isn’t necessarily trying to save donald trump from himself…with this in mind, we can evaluate what these lawyers are saying and come to a conclusion we can trust…

well, according to veltman, egw’s sources copied from each other in the same egw copied from them…religious writers at that time were apparently all in collusion…they believed they were dealing in a common domain…marion davis, egw’s main literary assistant, is famous for saying, “the earth is the LORD’s, and the fullness thereof”…in other words, when it comes to spiritual truth, no-one can claim a monopoly…everyone is entitled to help themselves from each other…

this is true…i see no evidence that there’s such a thing as headship or submissive levels of inspiration…someone is either inspired, or he or she isn’t…and all inspiration is on the same level of value and authority…

and you have no way to prove that sola scripture is valid…you can’t even know whether the reformers, who coined the phrase, would still be using it if they lived in our time, and had egw…you also know that luther called the institution that canonized scripture “antichrist”…think about it…

the bottom line is that there’s no text in the bible that says only israel’s prophets, jesus, and his apostles and their associates can be mouthpieces for god…we’ve got an instance in the bible where a donkey was speaking for god…we’ve got instances where murderers and adulterers and thieves were speaking for god…i think we have to take inspiration where we find it, or we’re liable to be left in the dark as to what god’s plans and purposes are…

i agree that this statement is unfortunate…the person behind this website is obviously conflating plagiarism with copying…but that’s he’s, her or their problem…they’ve still done a good job with distilling the desire of ages project and the ramik report in easy to understand terms…

Have you read the original ramik report:


Yes ____ NO ____PARTIALLY (check)

In example 8, the author, Tricia Steam, is cited.

In example 2, the alleged plagiarism is: [Evaluation is a form of quality control. Evaluation involves the measurement of how effectively the learners are meeting the objectives as a result of instruction.] He needs to cite someone for this banality, which is obviously common knowledge? That’s absurd.

1 Like

Except for the fact that we profiteered by printing, publishing, selling the prophets inspired works via our not for profit propheteering church…


Hi, Phil. I appreciate your point about the rhetorical context within corporate America (that CEOs routinely respond to their boards concerning a performance review with blah blah blah from the web).

The president of an American university writing to the trustees of that university knows better than to copy and paste without attribution. If President Spence honestly does not know any better (and Barry’s anecdotes suggest that is possible)–if he sincerely believes that copying and pasting is acceptable “evidence of [his] university’s resilient performance over the previous five years” and that faculty should be proud of him for representing himself in that way–then he belongs in a different corporate setting where it “happens all of the time.”

As commenters have already noted, it is a BIG DEAL in American colleges and universities. When writing a student up for a violation of academic integrity, faculty don’t want to be in the position of saying to students, “Yeah, the president copies and pastes stuff all the time for his job, but that’s different.”


What does copy write law have to do with a claim I was shown?


Could you give us a reference for this? Especially documentation that her sources used her as a source without attribution?

You do know that this law firm is a paid advocate? A more comprehensive and unbiased study would be undertaken by scholars without any dog in the fight?


[quote=“RonCorson, post:5, topic:18162”]
…not have the courage to use your real name…

Courage or a lesson learned? Desmond Ford had the courage to trust Neal Wilson’s promise that his employment was secure if he made a scholarly presentation of the persistent problems that saturate our 1844 logic.

Should we doubt that it was another Wilson who would slap the faces of Dr. Ford’s loved ones, yet again?

Our church has become a minefield!


No, I didn’t read the original Ramik report.
I couldn’t care less about what lawyers have to say about this issue. I already said it, copying a text and publishing it as your own this speaks for itself. Any common person can understand this simple principle., Well, lawyers are not “common people,” so maybe their moral judgment is different… :roll_eyes: :wink:

And there is also the problem of, “I was shown.” :open_mouth: Let’s not even go there…:innocent:


Faculty and staff should not be working in any SDA organization of constant fear and anxiety over their jobs. This is the hallmark of many SDA organizations and must be stopped in its track. I think It’s time for the WAU and other SDA organizations Spring. President Spence is an 18th century dictator and should definitely be replaced soonest to save WAU from becoming another AUC.


Ever heard of retaliation? As long as a whistle-blower presents documentation, I don’t hold it against them for attempting to maintain anonymity.


Benjamin Chase, Faculty and Staff in all SDA organizations should only be afraid of God’s retaliation. Not retaliation from feeble men. Our God is a mighty God. Let freedom ring.

Yes, one gets what they pay for. The average College President salary in California is $294,743 as of March 28, 2019, but the range typically falls between $221,891 and $412,638. Salary ranges can vary widely depending on the city and many other important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, the number of years you have spent in your profession. A division dean at a California community college typically makes $130,000+ per year.


Ultimately the responsibility for citations in a doctoral dissertation rest with the “dissertation committee”. Granting a degree for which the dissertation had questionable citations says something significant about the university, to say nothing of the person receiving the degree.

It seems that Nova failed to teach “Dr.” Spence that a key to successful academic leadership is “driving out fear”, not cultivating it rom “day one”.


No kidding, Jeremy? I have a rare copy of Dr, Veltman’s magnum opus. Would you mind telling me which page you are referring to?

I also have a personal letter from him telling me that more distressing than the copying was her denial of it. He seemed to me to doubt that she was the author of the partial admission appearing in later editions of The Great Controversy, which he characterizes as too little and too late in any event.

From his report:

“Throughout my college years, early ministry, and even seminary classwork, I had the impression that Ellen White wrote The desire of Ages.

(Introduction - Part B, page 110)

In his introduction, pp 107-108 he writes
“Throughout my college years, early ministry, and even seminary classwork, I had the impression that Ellen White wrote The Desire of Ages.”

He then describes the minimal assistance she allegedly got from her assistants and observes that the process we were all taught “HAS NO BASIS IN FACT”. [Yikes!]

(From Summary and Conclusions, p.922)

  • One is not able to recognize any general category of content or catalog of ideas that are unique…
  • We found source parallels in the theological, devotional, narrative, descriptive, and spiritual comments of Ellen White.
  • The larger literary units were also constructed in a sequence of thought development very similar to that of another writer.

*Thus it is not only the content of the individual sentence that on the surface is not identifiable
as unique to Ellen White.

After Fred devoted “nearly eight years of my life” to this research, Neal Wilson reneged on his promise to let him publish a popular version of the report through an Adventist publishing house. ( Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!)