SPU nursing students attest to Professor Rinedahl’s skills as an instructor

Kyle Morrison, News Editor

Kenzi Meyer, senior undergraduate nursing counsel representative, during a clinical day. (Courtsey of Kenzi Meyer)

The SPU student population has been in uproar this week as individuals from the community have taken to social media to voice their displeasure with University hiring practices through posts, comments, and petitions. 

Earlier this week, Jeaux Rinedahl, a part time adjunct professor, informed Seattle Pacific University that he is suing them for Sexual orientation discrimination, after apparently being informed that he could not become a full time professor because of his sexuality. 

Students in the nursing program, who have taken classes from Professor Rinedahl, have a personal connection to the lawsuit. 

“It’s been really disheartening I think and sad,” Senior nursing student Mya Davis explained. “It doesn’t seem to match up with what we are taught.”

Kristen Riley, another former Rindedahl student, said that she had suspected that the University had discriminatory policies in their hiring practices, but that seeing it in real life, makes it much more surprising. 

“This time it’s different because there is like an actual person, that’s not being given a job,” Riley explained. “It’s kinda shocking, but not super shocking, because I kinda knew that rule, but I just can’t believe they actually still have that rule.”

Rinedahl has over 40 years of nursing experience, which along with his tenure as a part time professor at SPU would seem to give him solid qualifications to get a full time position. 

“He was a really really good clinical instructor,” Davis explained. “He was so wonderful, he was very empathetic, and he also had a lot of nursing knowledge and nursing experience, so I feel like I can speak for my group that holistically we learned so much.”

SPU nursing students are concerned about the double standard that the Rinedahl situation paints in their department and in the campus at large. 

Kenzi Meyer, pre-pandemic, at the University of Washington Medical Center. (Courtesy of Kenzi Meyer)

“If you want to claim inclusive excellence, then you have to be inclusive,” Senior undergraduate nursing council representative Kenzi Meyer explained. “That doesn’t mean that once you hit your quota on diverse populations that you get to stop there and you’re off the hook. It really feels contradictory that there’s something called inclusive excellence in these meetings that are taking place in the nursing program and yet a professor wasn’t hired on the basis of his sexuality.”

Meyer also worries about how the news will impact her colleagues in the LGBTQIA+ community. 

“We have many LGBTQIA+ identifying individuals on this campus and so for something like this to come out, it feels like ok who do we trust now, how do we know that our opinions and our identities are going to be valued when this is the message being sent by the University.” 

All three nursing students interviewed for this article expressed frustration at the lack of response by the nursing program and SPU as a whole. On the evening of Jan. 14, SPU did release a statement where they declined to comment on the situation in an effort to understand more facts about the case.

Meyer has been active in her response to the situation. She sent an email to her cohort addressing the situation. In the statement she expressed support for Professor Rinedahl and challenged the nursing department on what she sees as double standards regarding values. 

Going forward students are hoping that SPU rectifies this situation and hires Rinedahl to a full time position. 

“He definitely has the experience and the qualifications,” Riley said. “Jeaux’s asking, ‘give me this job, I deserve it, I have the qualifications,’ and I think SPU should, because they would benefit from having him on the nursing staff.”