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Wood receives NIC trustee emeritus status

by DEVIN WEEKS
Staff Writer | August 23, 2022 1:07 AM

Former North Idaho College Trustee Christie Wood was granted trustee emeritus status by a 3-2 vote Monday during a long and contentious meeting of the NIC board.

Vice Chair John Goedde made the motion, which was seconded by Secretary/Treasurer Pete Broschet. Board Chair David Wold also voted in favor.

"I know the true meaning of 'emeritus,' because (Trustee Emeritus) Judy Meyer is my role model, mentor, and I adore her, so I appreciate the three trustees giving me that honor," Wood said after the meeting.

Emeritus status allows the former holder of an office to retain his or her title in an honorary capacity.

The meeting leading up to the decision showed a room split in two on the matter, from trustees and attendees to those who spoke during a nearly half-hour-long public comment period. One commenter was escorted out of the meeting by security at the request of NIC President Nick Swayne after the commenter went over time, veered off topic and refused to leave the lectern.

Trustees Todd Banducci and Greg McKenzie voted against granting Wood emeritus status.

"Former Trustee Wood and some of her compatriots were content with whatever it took, whatever means were justified, to achieve the end of basically coming at me, even if it included resigning and trying to burn down the college," Banducci said.

While serving on the board, Wood called several times for Banducci to resign from the board, including following the release of a report by a panel representing NIC’s accrediting organization, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The panel recommended NIC be put on probation for, among other things, a dysfunctional board, governance structure and sentiments of no confidence in the board from faculty and staff leadership.

"I'm really, really sad that it became so ugly for the campus. I don't want that," Wood said. "It became a political crap show, just awful."

Wood, who served on the NIC board for nearly 20 years, said she is looking forward to attending meetings again. Overall, she said she is appreciative to Broschet, Wold and Goedde.

"I think they are good, decent people," Wood said. "I am really worried about NIC as we move forward with these other two who continue to behave this way in board meetings."

The NIC trustees also voted 3-2 to approve a board conduct policy, again with Banducci and McKenzie casting the dissenting votes.

The stated purpose of the policy is to prescribe processes, behaviors and methods of appropriate communications for effective and efficient board operations.

"This policy is not intended to infringe upon the individual First Amendment rights nor interfere with personal relationships," the policy states. "Utilizing proper procedures and channels of communications and exercising respectful behaviors results in a more effective and efficient organization."

The policy was adopted with one amendment, also found in the meeting materials: "Individual trustees, however, must refrain from communicating or acting in a manner that violates, interferes with or circumvents college policy and administrative procedures and guidelines. Trustees are responsible for familiarizing themselves with college policies, adhering to those policies, procedures and guidelines and complying with the spirit and intent of those policies."