Monday, October 26, 2020

Trustees have long kept NIC strong

| October 15, 2020 1:00 AM

North Idaho College for more than eight decades has successfully provided the first two-years for thousands of students pursuing four-year academic degrees and equally provided associate degrees and certificates for students seeking professional careers in industry.

There are numerous successful individuals in such fields as medicine, law, business, education, law enforcement, industry and public policy that began their higher education experience at NIC. Many of those individuals were able to stay home and receive an NIC scholarship otherwise they would not have been able to commence their college career at a four-year college with a higher cost.

Over the decades, the North Idaho College Board of Trustees in partnership with the administration, faculty and community supporters have successfully worked with the Idaho U.S. congressional delegations, Idaho governors, state legislators and local officials of both political parties on a non-partisan basis to build one of the most outstanding community colleges in the United States. NIC since the late 1940’s has received the highest possible accreditation ranking given by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Following the Coeur d’Alene Press Town Hall Zoom interviews on Tuesday, Oct. 6, Mr. Greg McKenzie, candidate for NIC Trustee Zone 4, was quoted in the Coeur D’Alene Press story on Oct. 7 reacting to Governor Little’s state-wide COVID-19 policy by saying, “I can guarantee I absolutely will not be voting for this current governor again when he comes back up again for office.”

It was shocking to witness a trustee candidate inserting a non-educational partisan ideology into the race and such an unfair attack upon Governor Brad Little. It is an example of why it is so important not to use the role of Trustee for partisan politics, personal agendas, and also presenting such a negative attitude toward NIC and its success.

NIC Trustees must act in unison in public matters pertaining to the college. Each trustee must maintain public tact and decorum in order to preserve a positive relationship between NIC and our federal, state and local elected officials without regard to party affiliation.

Once the governor establishes procedures for the state, it is the responsibility of the NIC Board of Trustees to assure they are carried out. To do otherwise subjects the college to at the very least criticism for acting unilaterally, and at worst, putting students, faculty, staff and constituents at risk and the college subject to litigation if unilateral actions result in harm.

Over the decades many outstanding community leaders of both political parties such as Tom Emerson, Bev Bemis, Bill Nixon, Jack Beebe, Betty McLain, Norm Gissel, Jeanne Givens and Barb Chamberlain have served on the NIC Board working in total unity for the betterment of NIC without regard to their own party affiliation. This must never change.

The NIC Board and administration has always worked with both Republican and Democratic governors and both political parties in the Idaho Legislature, to do otherwise would be a disaster.


Coeur d'Alene


Coeur d’Alene