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University releases Manweller report

Letter: School didn’t discipline professor because of time lapse

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Posted: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 10:00 am | Updated: 11:30 am, Tue Oct 30, 2012.

Central Washington University did not discipline political science professor Mathew Manweller following a sexual harassment investigation this fall because of concerns related to the time lapse between the 2006 allegations and the investigation’s completion, according to a letter accompanying the investigation results.

The report was released Monday in response to public records requests.

Manweller, a Republican who is running for District 13’s seat in the state House of Representatives, filed a lawsuit against the university Oct. 19 to bar the document’s release. Kittitas County Superior Court Judge Scott Sparks lifted a temporary restraining order Monday, allowing CWU to release the document.

Wenatchee attorney Ernest Radillo conducted the investigation on behalf of CWU and finished the report Oct. 1.

“In my judgment, based on the documents reviewed and the interviews conducted, evidence exists to suggest (Manweller) engaged in conduct with or toward (a student) that violated CWU’s 2006 harassment policy,” Radillo wrote.

Central Washington University did not discipline Manweller “because of concerns due to the time interval between the events and this report,” said a letter accompanying the report from dean of CWU College of the Sciences Kirk Johnson.

“I am certain you can correct these behaviors, if they occurred, and provide our students with the quality education they expect from Central Washington University,” Johnson wrote.

The 89-page report investigates allegations of sexual assault against Manweller in 2006. His name and the name of the accuser are redacted; the Daily Record and Yakima Herald-Republic filed public records requests specifically seeking documents involving Manweller.

In a statement, Manweller said the claims in the report are not true.

“My wife and I are confused and deeply saddened by this report,” Manweller wrote. “In my 20 years as an educator, I have never been inappropriate with a student, and no student has ever filed a complaint against me. However, I was very pleased to see that CWU has publicly conceded, in this paper and others, that all allegations against me are unsubstantiated.” 

Manweller said he sought to block the report’s release because it includes  rumors, innuendo, unattributed quotes and hearsay. He says the 2012 investigation was politically motivated.

“When my family and I decided to run for office over one year ago, we were not naive to the nastiness that encumbers the politics of personal destruction,” wrote Manweller. “We knew that politics was a no-holds-barred, mean-spirited affair. But even we were not prepared for this level of mud-slinging.”

CWU officials have denied that the investigation was politically motivated. Staff said the university conducted the investigation this year to meet obligations under Title IX, which requires educational institutions to investigate student allegations of sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination based on sex.

Sherer Holter, chief of staff to CWU’s president, said “CWU did not make a determination that the allegations against Manweller were substantiated,” in a court document last week.

CWU procedures

No written complaints were filed by students against Manweller, and at the time of the investigation, CWU had an unwritten policy of not investigating sexual harassment claims unless the accuser filed a written complaint, the report said. 

The report focused on allegations from a CWU student who, according to the report, said she was concerned about filing a written complaint and feared retaliation. The former CWU student and her boyfriend were CWU political science majors at the time, the report said. 

In a written statement in the report, the woman said Manweller was one of the best professors in the department, but she felt she no longer could enroll in his classes after he made sexual advances toward her.

“I regret not coming forward to more officials at the school after the incident took place; it deeply disturbs me that I did not, because I honestly believe (he) is a very intelligent, manipulative, sexually aggressive individual who will again abuse the power of his position for sexual favors,” she wrote on Sept. 26.

The woman contacted Todd Schaefer, chairman of CWU’s political science department, and several university staffers were aware of her allegations or similar allegations raised against the professor by other female students, according to the report. CWU personnel encouraged students who came forward to file complaints against the professor, the report said.

CWU now has a policy of investigating all sexual harassment complaints regardless of whether a written complaint is filed. During an interview Monday, CWU director of public affairs Linda Schactler was unsure exactly when the policy changed or what the university’s informal policy had been in 2006, but she said CWU has since established a clear policy and complies with federal law.

The investigation

Although documentation and interviews suggest at least two female students made allegations against Manweller from 2006-09, the 2012 report only focused on allegations brought by a student in 2006, the report said.

The investigator interviewed Manweller, several former CWU students and CWU staff members, and examined documents related to the case. CWU personnel did not have extensive notes or documents regarding the allegations that occurred between 2006 and 2009, and some of the witness accounts were conflicting, incomplete or lacked detail, the report said.

Manweller is running against Moses Lake Democrat Kaj Selmann for the 13th District’s seat in the state House of Representatives.


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  • Discuss

Welcome to the discussion.


  • Eastside posted at 8:46 pm on Mon, Nov 5, 2012.

    Eastside Posts: 577

    Think about this for a second. If Manweller is elected wont we be the laughing stock of the State? What does it take for a Republican to be "unqualified"? It will say a lot about Kittitas and Grant County.

  • whatatrip posted at 8:24 am on Mon, Nov 5, 2012.

    whatatrip Posts: 2137

    Darwin, “sanctity of marriage” is YOUR value. I, and others like me, hold you to your standard. You fail the test by supporting Manweller. You can’t vote for the sanctity of marriage and Manweller at the same time and still be consistent.

    I can vote for gay marriage and against Manweller and be consistent.

    Jables61, I suspect the Manweller campaign sent out requests to “selected” former students for “letters of recommendation” and asked the former students to send them to the DR for printing. I find your assessment in total “character” with Manweller. Manweller and Romney/Ryan should be rejected by voters.

  • Jables61 posted at 10:06 pm on Sat, Nov 3, 2012.

    Jables61 Posts: 1

    As a former student of Dr. Manweller I can tell you he is not the kind of person you want in Olympia representing our small corner of the world. His classroom is a little more toned down as far as what he believes, but he teaches liberal views like they are uncertain theories and teaches conservative views like they are gospel. He also assigns books that have little to do with the topic at hand. Assigning a book attacking left-wing bias in the media to be read for an intro to American politics is simply an attempt to subtly sway students. These character allegations, investigation, and his previous transgressions all reflect a person that should not be representing us in Olympia. Conservative fanaticism coupled with a volatile temper, questionable morality and inability to meet in the middle with anyone will ensure if he is elected, things just get more gridlocked than they already are.

  • Darwin posted at 5:17 pm on Sat, Nov 3, 2012.

    Darwin Posts: 1770

    Sanctity of Marriage. A very interesting subject this election cycle. Are we sure we want to bring up Manwellers 2 marriages when we are voting on two people of the same gender getting married?

    Seems the sanctity of marriage is being voted upon this coming Tuesday at the same time we are voting for or against Mr Manweller.

  • Eastside posted at 4:20 pm on Thu, Nov 1, 2012.

    Eastside Posts: 577

    Thank you Portlander for the information from the Stranger. I was getting to think that the whole story on Manweller wouldnt be covered. Manweller is on his second marriage and he was 30 when he married his first wife who was 18. They met when she was 16. Let everyone make their own judgment on this. As mentioned its not in his biography. Heres a link to the Stranger. Remember with regards to the sanctity of marriage Manweller is a Republican who is on his second marriage.

  • portlander06 posted at 1:18 pm on Thu, Nov 1, 2012.

    portlander06 Posts: 10

    It is troubling to me how the complaints were handled by staff at Central. I am very glad that they have changed their policy on handling informal complaints, but I have to say this:

    When a victim doesn't want to file a formal complaint because they are worried about possible repercussions, that the alleged abuser will retaliate against them, this is not the time to say that you cannot do anything to help because they don't want to report it, it is the time to become an advocate for this person to ensure that their future isn't compromised because of an abuse of power!

  • portlander06 posted at 11:43 am on Thu, Nov 1, 2012.

    portlander06 Posts: 10

    Or ALL of MANWELLER'S dirty little secrets! Check this out: Traditional Marriage, "Manweller Style", Posed this morning on Slog.TheStranger.com.

    He met his first wife while he was teaching at the high school she was attending... he was 29 and she was a high school sophomore! You can see the 97-98 school yearbook on the Hurricane High School's website showing Manweller as the boy's team soccer coach and his x-wife, Oralynn Reeves as the team manager! She graduated in June of 2000 and they married June 23rd, 2000!

  • whatatrip posted at 9:44 am on Thu, Nov 1, 2012.

    whatatrip Posts: 2137

    Dkfather, the evidence is on the internet. The complete report is there for you to read and decide for yourself. You can be a juror. In a trial this is the evidence you will be faced with. The investigator said the evidence was compelling and felt Manweller was guilty. CWU said they didn’t discipline Manweller because of “the time” that has elapsed since the compliant was first made. The complainant stands by her story. I have no doubt more would come forward if there were a trial. I look forward to Manweller’s lawsuit going forward.

    BTW, no vote is a vote for Manweller. That is the reality.

  • dkfather posted at 7:14 pm on Wed, Oct 31, 2012.

    dkfather Posts: 0


    I vote based on facts rather than accusations. I did not vote for Dr. Manweller, I did not vote for anyone, I am a Republican my own party no longer wants. IF Dr. Manweller is guilty in a civil sense then let someone bring civil charges against him for this incident. Then a jury can determine facts, and I will happily agree that he is a toad, and probably would have voted against him. All these calls for him to loose his job are simple minded in the extreme. He is an effective researcher, a brilliant scholar, and yes, a right wing ideologue whose political ideals are not my own. He is, however, not a sexual harasser. He is merely one of the many people accused of violations - civil, criminal, or workplace - each year for who the charge was unsustained. An unsustained charge is the same in the US as saying innocent.

  • Darwin posted at 4:32 pm on Wed, Oct 31, 2012.

    Darwin Posts: 1770

    EDR is a right wing newspaper? I think not. EDR is about as far left as one can go.

    I just think its going to be real interesting to find out what other professors at CWU have these tiny little hidden files.

    time to release all the dirt and let the city folk filter thru it.

    Gonna try to bring Manweller down, heck lets bring them all down. They want to waller in the mud and do underhanded..lets play fair then and drag all of them out.

    Its going to be interesting to see where these lawsuits that are filed go and how deep they dig.

    Go Manweller.. You got my vote. Isabella how do you KNOW others have not made huge mistakes? It seems the only crud coming out is about Conservatives. I can tell you stories about liberal professors at CWU that will make Manwellers story look like a toy.

    Maybe its time to start releasing facts about the conduct of the liberal professors..


  • Eastside posted at 3:54 pm on Wed, Oct 31, 2012.

    Eastside Posts: 577

    The Columbia Basin Herald hasnt followed the story as close as the Record and Yakima Herald. However their is a story dated Oct 29th on Manweller that has some intersting comments. One in particular that mentions his previous marriage. Its worth checking before voting. Hard to believe Manweller could end up with more than 60% of the vote. Does being a Christian Evangelical even mean anything?


  • whatatrip posted at 3:32 pm on Wed, Oct 31, 2012.

    whatatrip Posts: 2137

    118 days before the election newspapers requested information on the 2006 complaint. Manweller did not object to the release of that information. Upon review of the information, CWU determined that the investigation was not complete and Title IX funds were at risk. So 66 days before the election CWU orders and outside investigation.

    It took CWU 52 days to decide they had better complete the report. I suspect someone may have brought it to the attention of CWU that the report was not complete and up to today’s requirements. This is not something CWU would want to be made public just to “tarnish” Manweller’s reputation as his supporters claim. This was an act on CWU’s part to cover their behind.

    The report was completed 36 days before the election and 34 days before the election the newspapers requested the final report.

    Matt Manweller didn’t file a lawsuit to bar the release of the report until 18 days before the election.

  • isabella posted at 12:04 pm on Wed, Oct 31, 2012.

    isabella Posts: 20

    Perhaps I'm just a naive idealist, but why does this guy get to keep his job when other CWU employees who haven't sexually harassed anyone, abide by the law, and haven't made huge mistakes on video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UQmh7jOPnU) don't? Just throwing that out there.

  • whatatrip posted at 9:19 am on Wed, Oct 31, 2012.

    whatatrip Posts: 2137

    Dkfather, you can not only read the charges, you can read the evidence and decide for yourself Manweller’s guilt or innocence based upon the preponderance of the evidence. This is a civil matter. Politics is always judged in the court of public opinion. There have been no criminal charges made, just accusations of bad behavior uncharacteristic and undesirable of a public official. I know some don’t care, particularly those on the right who claim such moral superiority yet turn a blind eye if a person “proclaims” the same ideology that they have.

    Darwin, the devil himself could be running and if he/she proclaims the same ideology you do, you would vote him/her. You are probably right Manweller will win this election with or without his “dirty” secrets being public. You are now saying that CWU had “concealed information”. It was not. The proof is in CWU’s response to the information requested by the news media, the right wing news media I might add. Both the Daily Record and the Yakima Herald-Republic are right wing newspapers.

    The “concealment” was done by Matt Manweller himself, your candidate. All you have to do is request the information from CWU yourself, IF you have any knowledge of any “dirt”.

    It should be noted that Romney has no more respect for women than Matt Manweller does. In fact, Romney’s method of disrespect may be even worse but I could be wrong. Manweller may be just as bad as Romney or even worse.

  • veb123 posted at 9:12 am on Wed, Oct 31, 2012.

    veb123 Posts: 0

    "Evidence exists to suggest he engaged in conduct...." So do millions of police reports filed each year, but we don't take those for face value until actually proven.

    October 2006, allegations are made and dismissed because those reporting were unwilling to come forward. Early 2011, Manweller announces his intention to run for office. 50 days before election, CWU decides to reopen the investigation. 7 days before the election, two newspapers re-petition the court (after originally denied) to release the investigation "results," publishing multiple front page stories that rehash the same "evidence."

    It is no secret: Manweller has enemies at CWU and the media for being an outspoken conservative professor. See page 43 of the attached report for a great example; Stephanie Wickstrom's email to Todd Schaefer was driven by disagreement in viewpoint, to the extent of suggesting Manweller should be fired for his views. These people do not want their enemy elected.

    Evidence exists to suggest the Daily Record, Yakima Herald, and CWU engaged in politically-driven conduct. Can we have 4 front page stories about this too, since there's equal evidence to suggest it is "true"?

  • SteveVerhey posted at 6:40 am on Wed, Oct 31, 2012.

    SteveVerhey Posts: 56

    New blog post on this affair: http://whathappensinthecourthouse.blogspot.com/ .

    dkfather: we learned in court that investigations like this are routinely released. If wrongoing is found, they are released with all names intact, and if no "wrongdoing" they are released with names redacted.

    darwin: facts do not equal dirty politics, and technicalities do not make facts untrue.

  • Darwin posted at 5:14 am on Wed, Oct 31, 2012.

    Darwin Posts: 1770

    I suspect Manweller is going to win this election with or without the dirty politics. Then I would suggest to CWU that if he does win this election you better pull ALL YOUR DIRT you swept under the rug out because if you don't I suspect a court of law will.

    If CWU has concealed this information how much more have they concealed.

    Time to open ALL the CWU records and see what else they have manged to hide.

    If folks want to pick this fight then they better be ready to do battle on the whole CWU coverups from YEARS past.

  • dkfather posted at 10:54 pm on Tue, Oct 30, 2012.

    dkfather Posts: 0


    I think that an investigation should be confidential, and that there should be the ability of the administration to make a measured response to accusations. My law professor posed be a riddle. What do you call a person charged five times with drunk driving?

    Innocent. Charges are not guilt.

  • MomInEburg posted at 10:53 pm on Tue, Oct 30, 2012.

    MomInEburg Posts: 2

    Just to let you know 7721... As a family friend, Matt was married to Oralynn three years before moving to Ellensburg and Shelley's a 1999 graduate of the University of Missouri who has never attended CWU. Find some different smoke.

  • whatatrip posted at 9:03 pm on Tue, Oct 30, 2012.

    whatatrip Posts: 2137

    I’ve read the report and find Matt Manweller to have good reason to have not wanted this made public. I will go further than Ernest Radillo and say I don’t think there is any doubt that Manweller crossed the line, big time. The question now is just how much of this went on.

    There is some second hand testimony that I think could come from a person who likes to “boast” or be a part of the latest gossip. This second hand stuff could be true but I, personally, wouldn’t brag that I gave “bla, bla, bla” in exchange for a grade. But hey, I’m well over 60 and not much in touch with youthful attitudes.

    I do have every confidence in the testimony of the main complainant. There was no reason for her to lie or make false accusations. She had nothing to gain and everything to lose which explains why she didn’t file a formal complaint.

  • aronicat posted at 6:15 pm on Tue, Oct 30, 2012.

    aronicat Posts: 2

    I couldn't disagree more Steve. I do agree with the assertion that CWU needs to comply with the law; and, they should afford the protection of due process to all students and personnel. Do not overlook that Ms. Holter is on the record dismissing the allegations as unsubstantiated, meaning this will be the third time this has been dismissed. Those who, I believe correctly, smell political opportunism are not willing to cloud the discourse by debating 'if it happened too long ago' (i.e. statue of limitations) or if a Title IX investigation in 2006 is being conducted using 2012 rules (ex post facto) because there was no formal complaint.

    Do you think this investigative theatre makes CWU more or less culpable for mismanagement? Lastly, should Mr. Radillo be on retainer so push-pull and intimidating interrogations can be conducted against any faculty member at any time for any reason?

  • neyney221 posted at 5:26 pm on Tue, Oct 30, 2012.

    neyney221 Posts: 42

    Manweller certainly has a cult following. His followers are mad as can be for this unsavory business to become public now. His detractors may think it's too late to change the outcome of the election anyway. His past bad behavior in public is an indication to me that there may be other things he would just as soon stay private. I think he knew exactly how ugly and dirty political campaigns are. It's his chosen line of work. He lives and breathes mud slinging partisan politics. He teaches it, writes about it, swims in it at least five days a week. I don't believe him saying he had no idea how terrible politics can be. There are some things that I'm confused and sad about, but American politics isn't one of them. Just another bump in the road for him, as he seeks more power.

  • dkfather posted at 5:15 pm on Tue, Oct 30, 2012.

    dkfather Posts: 0

    An accusation is not a conviction, and neither is an investigation. It is true that this is also not a vindication. Being neutral on the issue of Dr. Manweller and his campaign - I am a center-right Roosevelt Republican that our party is trying shed in droves so I no longer vote, I will point out the timing is political, any other assumption is simply hogwash. Why not look into the matter in 2010?

    Dr. Verhey, your comments are wrong on the face. First, CWU did not botch anything. They investigated, they lacked support from the complaining parties, they dropped it when those parties did not sustain their complaint. These complaints are taken seriously - many are unfounded, many are misunderstandings, a few are reprehensible, and many simply cannot be proven. You cannot simply fire everyone who ever receives a complaint or there would be no more professors working at CWU.

    In addition, with many complaints of this sort the answer is not termination but training. If the complaint is sustained then the person involved can be taught better behavior patterns and retained, if they are a good professor to start with. It would be a draconian approach to fire anyone caught up in one of these things, about like giving life sentences to every person caught for driving drunk. Sure it is a serious offense that should be handled, but the best answer is not always jail.

    So what this article says is that Dr. Manweller may have committed an act of sexual harassment seven years ago, and it may be part of a pattern of acts, but the investigation could not be sustained due to lack of evidence. Hardly a smoking gun of moral turpitude.

  • 7721 posted at 3:41 pm on Tue, Oct 30, 2012.

    7721 Posts: 28

    Let's deal with reality Manweller syncophants. Manweller was not absolved of the accusations. Because no formal complaint was filed against Manweller in 2006 or 2007, CWU did nothing pursuant to their informal policies of that time. In other words, CWU ignored the accusations.

    Only after the media learned of the accusations, no matter the political motivations. was a public records request made. That request led to the tardy investigation into Manweller's antics. Because of the passage of time CWU and lack of formal complaint CWU concluded that no disciplinary procedding could be brought against Manweller. That is not the end of the story. The independent investigator determined that there was evidence that Manweller had not only sexually harassed one or more students but may have also assaulted one of them.

    When Manweller's history of "hitting" on his female students, two of whom became his wives, there may well be "fire where there is smoke".

  • lordoflys posted at 3:11 pm on Tue, Oct 30, 2012.

    lordoflys Posts: 84

    Why shouldn't we know about the character of a person we may send to represent
    us in Olympia? Mr. Manweller's character was already suspect. His political
    views are fanatical conservatism. Just read his manifestos on his home page.
    His election would be a big back step for area residents.

  • whatatrip posted at 2:14 pm on Tue, Oct 30, 2012.

    whatatrip Posts: 2137

    In the article Matt says: “I was very pleased to see that CWU has publicly conceded, in this paper and others, that all allegations against me are unsubstantiated.”

    The report’s author Ernest Radillo states in the report: ““In my judgment, based on the documents reviewed and the interviews conducted, evidence exists to suggest (Manweller) engaged in conduct with or toward (a student) that violated CWU’s 2006 harassment policy,””.

    CWU’s Kirk Johnson said: ““I am certain you can correct these behaviors, if they occurred, and provide our students with the quality education they expect from Central Washington University,””.

    Also “Sherer Holter, chief of staff to CWU’s president, said “CWU did not make a determination that the allegations against Manweller were substantiated,” in a court document last week.

    All CWU said was “if they occurred”, they did not say the allegations were unsubstantiated. Just what planet does Matt Manweller live on? If he doesn’t live in a bubble or on another planet, he is just plain lying. This guy is not ready for prime time. Voters should not vote for Manweller.

  • Sue Lani Madsen posted at 11:49 am on Tue, Oct 30, 2012.

    Sue Lani Madsen Posts: 1

    After deciding there was not enough information for an investigation and first and second hand accounts were in conflict, 6 years lapse in time is not going to make anyone's memory or perception more reliable. There was no reason for anyone at CWU to bring this up except to run a political smear campaign. None.

  • SteveVerhey posted at 11:49 am on Tue, Oct 30, 2012.

    SteveVerhey Posts: 56

    Those of you who claim political motivation, please read the report before commenting. It's obvious a proper investigation would have found wrongdoing in 2006, and Professor Manweller very well could have lost his job at CWU. The results might also have affected his political aspirations, and we wouldn't be dealing with this now.

    Manweller supporters, if this affair makes you angry, consider why. Is it because you're disillusioned to find that Professor Manweller has feet of clay? Maybe because you feel misled? Save some anger for CWU, which has really botched this whole thing, part of a nationwide pattern of failing to take these complaints seriously.



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