University of South Africa Releases Statement on Paul Ratsara Investigation

Below is the LINK to the Division BRC research papers - which were done in preparation for the TOSC.

Why are there NO papers for the SID BRC (especially because we KNOW that the SID BRC did have papers - since Mr. Ratsara announced to the TOSC that he was NOT going to present the SID BRC papers, but instead was going to present what HE wanted to present to the TOSC - using Dr. Daniel Bediako’s AIIAIS dissertation on WO)?

Why would Mr. Ratsara (or others) NOT want to place them on the SDA Archives website - there is not even one there? Could it be that Mr. Ratsara et al do not want the SID BRC papers posted because then you may see from where Mr. Bonya gathered the information to write 5 of the 6 chapters of Mr. Ratsara’s dissertation - which is on women’s ordination?


Kevin Paulson, Perhaps you would do better to ask/answer some questions…

Why isn’t Mr. Ratsara’s dissertation - which is on women’s ordination - NOT on UNISAs website repository - as are the other doctoral dissertations:

Why aren’t ANY of the SID BRC research papers on the SDA Archives website - that is, the papers for the TOSC (women’s ordination):

Why didn’t UNISA state that they interviewed other members of the SID ExecComm - where Mr. Bonya confessed?

Why would UNISAs independent investigators only interview Mr. Ratsara and Mr. Bonya - even though the independent investigators were given a LIST of the SID ExecCom?

Why has UNISAs independent investigators not mentioned anything about the SID ExComm Minutes - where the official Minutes are recorded?

And,if Mr. Ratsara had been transparent in all his dealings, then Why did the SID ExecCom officially vote their “displeasure” with how Ratsara handled his doctoral dissertation?

FROM THE SID EXCOM MINUTES: WHEREAS the SID EXCOM noted a detailed presentation from Paul Ratsara pertaining, inter alia, to support he received in the compilation of his ThD qualification obtained from UNISA; and NOTING that there may be some diverse interpretations on what would constitute possible excessive reliance on research support Paul Ratsara may have received in the compilation of his ThD Thesis; and NOTING further that, according to Paul Ratsara, the ThD qualification passed the institutional test of plagiarism by UNISA; VOTED in the context of the aforegoing and only limited thereto, to express the EXCOM’s displeasure to Paul Ratsara for the manner in which he acquired his ThD qualification.”

Correction we have never seen the work even asking for it directly from Ratsara let me clear that up for you. Why would Ratsara not share it willingly …

It would seem that these questions would best be directed to UNISA and to the SID executive committee. What appears plainest of all to me is that no one—not the investigation by UNISA or any conducted by the Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division—has found any evidence of wrongdoing on Ratsara’s part. If in fact evidence of such wrongdoing has been unearthed by others, it has yet to be produced.

Oh Clinton, give the man a break: maybe he misplaced or lost his copy!!! … :roll_eyes:


Now Kevin, just tell us also that Ratsara did nothing wrong either when he refused to present his Division’s study results to the TOSC, and did what he wanted, i.e., presenting his own opinions on the subject instead. Are you OK with what he did at the TOSC?

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KevinDPaulson, It seems you may not WANT to know the truth about Mr. Ratsara - otherwise, especially since you are involved with ADvindicate (and a close friend of Ratsara’s anti-women’s ordination views) one would think you would be overly eager to find out the answers to those questions.

And, why should these questions be directed to UNISA and the SID ExecCommittee - when it is UNISA who is trying to eliminate the ‘black eye’ they have received (due to an evident lack of sufficient vetting of Mr Ratsara’s degree documents) - don’t you think it’s highly likely that UNISA instructed their “independent” investigators to do all they could to exonerate UNISA?). And when it was at the SID ExecComm where Mr Hopeson Bonya confessed; but evidently, some church leaders do not want to release their original official Minutes where that confession took place; thus they all seem to be covering for each other.

Clearly there was wrongdoing by Mr Ratsara - which is why the SID ExCom voted officially in the original Minutes their displeasure with Mr. Ratsara:

WHEREAS the SID EXCOM noted a detailed presentation from Paul Ratsara pertaining, inter alia, to support he received in the compilation of his ThD qualification obtained from UNISA; and NOTING that there may be some diverse interpretations on what would constitute possible excessive reliance on research support Paul Ratsara may have received in the compilation of his ThD Thesis; and NOTING further that, according to Paul Ratsara, the ThD qualification passed the institutional test of plagiarism by UNISA; VOTED in the context of the aforegoing and only limited thereto, to express the EXCOM’s displeasure to Paul Ratsara for the manner in which he acquired his ThD qualification.”

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Kevindpaulsen, even The Compass Magazine (who originated the ‘exoneration’) is at least now asking questions - if one truly wants to know the truth, one asks questions:


no, i don’t find this strange…first of all, ramostshela didn’t say that only ratsara and bonya were interviewed…he simply said that ratsara and bonya were interviewed…but let’s say, for the sake of argument, that only ratsara and bonya were interviewed…this would yield the critical information needed to make an assessment…other members of SID EXCOM would only be in a position to echo what they’d heard ratsara or bonya say…they aren’t prime witnesses, with original material needed by the investigation…theoretically, UNISA could interview everyone in SID…but all this would reflect would be the consensus feeling, rather than real evidence…

now of course, if bonya denied his confession to UNISA, SID EXCOM members who’d heard that confession could attest to the fact that he’d made that confession…but i think we have to assume that UNISA wasn’t entering this investigation without minimum facts on the ground…bonya’s confession is something they obviously knew about, which is why they interviewed him…if he denied his confession to UNISA, as it appears, i think we can assume that there would have been sufficient grilling on this point to satisfy UNISA that it was working with the truth…

this question assumes that UNISA somehow didn’t know that bonya had confessed, and hadn’t factored it into their conclusion, which i find highly unlikely…

no investigation, in presenting a summary to the public, mentions everything that went into their conclusion…the summary mentions the important points, which obviously include interviews with bonya and ratsara…UNISA may have, or may not have, interviewed the other members of SID EXCOM…we can’t tell from this summary…

it appears to me that UNISA wished to prevent a snowballing effect against ratsara that would force their hand…their course appears to be an attempt to preserve maximum objectivity, while reviewing critical, primary evidence…this would necessarily exclude anything they felt had the potential to create prejudice against ratsara…

i think you just have to accept that it wouldn’t be in UNISA’s interest to exonerate ratsara if there was indeed evidence of malfeasance on his part…they have their reputation to uphold…stripping ratsara of a degree that had been fraudulently obtained would represent no stain on their reputation…in fact it would enhance it…it would be sending a message that only ethical, approved methods of obtaining degrees from UNISA will be tolerated…

I suspect that what is needed is to institute a thorough, open, transparent, investigative judgment in order to cleanse our once-whited corporate sepulcher.

It certainly appears to these eyes that the present tack of leadership is to employ any tactics it can grasp and wield in order to power-over its desire to maintain masculine supremacy in church leadership, and that the NO-WO subordinaters seem to have complicity in this matter of academic integrity. Imagine, using a TOSC derived document to write what seems to be an illicit thesis, whose reported content is justifying ongoing systemic gender discrimination.
(edit to add-this may explain absence of thesis as well the SID BRC document. Release could prove damning to several streams of the “controlled flow of truth”)

I pray I am wrong.


Far from settling the Rarsara saga, the UNISA letters have made the waters muddier and shoved the situation up a level.

The General Conference and the SID would do well to act quickly. Their first order of business is to be totally transparent about what happened.

We simply don’t know.

All dissertations and theses are available through library systems for other researchers. It is a curious thing for Ratsara’s not to be available.

If we give UNISA the benefit of the doubt for a totally independent investigation team (outsourced), then questions remain about the availability of the doctoral research and the disappearance of Ratsara’s one-man document he supposedly wrote as representative of his division’s TOSC report. It’s missing from the 13 TOSC reports at the G.C. Archives. The one the original SID TOSC is as well. Where are they and why are they not available?

For thinking people (not out to “get the G.C.”), something isn’t adding up.

Transparency would mean the G.C. would quickly make the SID TOSC report available immediately and provide an explanation about the disappearance of the doctoral thesis.

When facts are unavailable and organizations drag their feet to be open, rumors fly and situations get sticky and can blow up into an unwanted crisis. Transparency creates trust. Otherwise the question is “What are they hiding?” (Crisis management 101)

Another question, if Ratsara did not agree with Bonya’s confession of writing five of the six doctoral thesis chapters, right then would have been the time for him to set the record straight (According to UNISA, Bonya helped only with supplying data for two chapters–he didn’t write any of the thesis. If this is true, why didn’t that come up at the committee meeting where Ratsara resigned?). But apparently he didn’t set the record straight. Why?

Why did the executive committee go on record for their displeasure for the manner in which Ratsara acquired his ThD if there was no issue and Bonya’s confession was false?

Why did Ted Wilson fly into South Africa for this SID EXCOM meeting? Besides being dear friends with the Ratsara family, what was his role as an advocate for Ratsara?

Is women’s ordination the actual reason for these mysteries? It was the topic of the “missing” research. It was the topic for the “missing” TOSC report from SID. It’s a highly controversial issue in the church right now that has Wilson pushing for punishment for those who support WO. What is the role of WO in these disappearances and gaps?

What happened to the original SID TOSC report that got shoved in the trash and replaced by Ratsara’s own supposedly written by himself? Who was on that original committee? Did the committee vote for this scenario?

I hope the so-called “Sixteen Academics” will press forward for answers.


i hope and expect them to make some kind of statement, now that UNISA has exonerated ratsara…

the fact that ratsara is now in a position to sue them for defamation of character should spur them on to make a statement, if for no other reason than to save themselves…i think they’re in a precarious legal position…

Be careful what you wish for. A legal claim may be the only way that the thesis and the SID BRC documentation may see the light of day. Courts of law are an expensive but effective way of evidence coming to light. I suspect there will be a settlement out of court and we will continue to be in the dark.

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on the contrary, if there is a settlement, it will tell us a lot who filed the lawsuit, and who agreed to settle…if ratsara files, and the group of academics agree to settle, it would be an admission on their part that their insurgence against ratsara was baseless…

of course if the academics file, and UNISA settles, it would be an admission on UNISA’s part that it’s covering up something that it doesn’t want disclosed…

I believe that Mr. Hopeson Bonya was a Field Secretary at the time of the ‘ghostwriting.’ However, Hopeson Bonya is now evidently a VP of the SID:

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I am just an academic at a top 50 university so have an insight into academic processes that perhaps you lack. My approach is always data driven. Look for the evidence. The norm, and the simplest course would be for the BRC report and the thesis to be made public but that has not happened though all other BRC reports have, and the thesis remains secret even though UNISA had claimed that it is in the repository. Why is that so? Do you not think that unusual and grounds to suspend judgement and to remain sceptical or are you so blinded by your conclusions that the evidence does not matter. Why do you conclude that the whistleblowers have the worst intentions? Do you have something against academics and academic processes?


no, but the word and judgement of academics alone don’t constitute facts…but since we’re discussing facts, let’s understand that UNISA’s exoneration of ratsara is by definition an academic process…

i agree that the fact that the BRC report and thesis are not in the public domain yet raises questions…but questions, however compelling, shouldn’t drive us to conclusions that adversely affect someone’s hard-earned reputation…put yourself in ratsara’s shoes…he’s undoubtedly had a hard life…he doesn’t need the acrimony that’s been directed at him, no doubt because he engineered the defeat of WO in san antonio…

As I said before the situation with any university and fraud is much more nuanced than you seem to recognize. There was an outsourced investigation by UNISA the parameters of which are commercial in confidence. The University has vested interests both to be seen as reaching a level of integrity and a desire for due process for the student whom they have contracted to educate.

Two examples of academic fraud are worth considering. The first is the case of Imanishi-Kari and Nobel Laureate David Baltimore
Here the exoneration some 10 years after the whistleblower was tempered by the conclusion that Imanishi-Kari had a cavalier attitude to dates and to basic record keeping. The full details of the findings can be accessed if you want.

The UNISA investigation is unlikely to be of this calibre but the same issues of uncertainly and balance are likely present.

The other salutary tale is that of LeRoy Hood and Vipim Kumar

Hood’s response was swift and decisive retracting the papers on which the suspect author was included and retracted his recommendation for the post-doc; “At about that time, in late summer, he personally wrote to many of his colleagues in the immunology community, alerting them to the possible problem, the ongoing investigation, and the pending retraction.”

For his actions however he was served with a lawsuit for lack of due process by the accused.

All accusations of fraud in an academic institute require the institution to tread this fine line between the evidence of wrong doing, and the rights of the accused. It is only if you do not appreciate the complexity of this process do you have the luxury of certainty. Or perhaps a religious inquisition.

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Who else besides Elders Ratsara and Bonya, have seen the final PhD thesis and the original SID-TOSC compilation? Members of the SID Executive Committee?

Regarding the two differing accounts of VP Dr Bonya (he officially holds both titles, it’s now for the SID Executive Committee to write a response affirming their own initial conclusion while denying the accuracy of the UNISA report. Shouldn’t our own people hold themselves to a higher standard?

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if you’re suggesting that UNISA exonerated ratsara because they believed he’d sue them for lack of due process if they didn’t, how can you possibly know that…maybe the case was too indeterminate to prove a case of fraud, and UNISA’s policy is to give the benefit of the doubt in such cases, which is their right…or maybe there really was evidence that exonerated ratsara, together with a back-peddling by bonya of his public confession…

i don’t see that we need to suspect UNISA’s finding, or believe the pack of academics determined to ruin ratsara, in order to be objective…at this point, what we actually have are an accusation and a confession of wrong-doing that have been taken up and handled by UNISA in a way that exonerates ratsara…how is this indulging an unwarranted luxury of certainty through a lack of appreciation for the complexity of the process, or wielding a religious inquisition…it’s simply an acknowledgement of existing and published facts…

but the ball is now in the court of ratsara’s accusers to justify their accusations, if they dare…i think UNISA’s finding gives ratsara ammunition against his accusers should there be any kink in their case…and if he initiates a lawsuit against them, and especially if they agree to settle out of court, i don’t think we’ll need to be discussing any fine line between evidence of wrong doing and the rights of ratsara that UNISA may have been mindful of…