Thursday, March 30, 2023

Editorial: NIC needs action, not crowd noise

| February 22, 2023 1:00 AM

If this were the Super Bowl, a team featuring Greg McKenzie, Todd Banducci and Mike Waggoner would have just gotten creamed 99-0.

But a Super Bowl of any kind is a laughably absurd analogy for that trio. So let’s try this one: If Banducci, McKenzie and Waggoner were members of Banducci’s women’s wrestling dream team, all three would have been pinned in a matter of seconds.

Yet the men responsible for pushing North Idaho College to the brink of destruction are hoping a stadium full of their fans will give them a standing ovation tonight, singing their praises to the heavens and heaping blame everywhere it does not belong.

Just please, they must be thinking as sweat trickles nervously down their spines, don’t look at the scoreboard.

With questionably, possibly illegally, appointed President Greg South and incomprehensibly hired attorney Art Macomber, the five horsemen of the NIC apocalypse take the stage tonight at 6 for a public meeting that in a sane universe would be all about tackling the daunting demands of its accrediting agency.

Yet these five wallow in an alternate universe, one in which they huddle in a grotesque group hug as innocent victims while the media, NIC students and employees, and the community at large unfairly pick on them.

To be clear, tonight’s audience will have zero impact where it matters most: the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. NIC’s accreditors are focused only on the steps Banducci, McKenzie and Waggoner are taking to save the college. No comment made by a supporter or display of partisanship will register on the Richter scale.

March 31 — the deadline for trustees to show NWCCU why accreditation should not be revoked — matters. And true to failing form, the one thing that is wholly absent from tonight’s agenda is any action whatsoever to resolve the accreditation crisis.

The Faculty Assembly’s executive committee recently outlined exactly what trustees should do to remedy the 26 areas where NIC is out of compliance, and begging their supporters to cheer loudly for the losing team was not one of them. The committee’s recommended steps toward NIC survival are:

• Remove interim President Greg South and his fellow interims

• Remove Macomber

• Reinstate NIC President Nick Swayne

• Give Swayne full operational authority over NIC

But those are all plays that would actually help you win a Super Bowl for your college and community — which unfortunately is not why Banducci, McKenzie and Waggoner suited up in the first place.

And that’s why, long term, one more step should be added to the top of the NIC survival list:

Never, ever elect completely unqualified trustee candidates like McKenzie, Banducci and Waggoner again.

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