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OPINION: NIC reframe

by BRENT REGAN/Common Sense
| February 24, 2023 1:00 AM

The three rules of great opera; make it loud, wear flashy clothes, and if things don’t go your way, kill yourself.

What is Accreditation? Accreditation is awarded by independent accrediting agencies that periodically examine schools' curricular offerings to confirm that they are providing students with a quality education.

The first question is then “What academic or curricular shortcoming caused NIC’s accreditation to come under scrutiny?” The answer is none. Accreditation is being threatened for political, not academic reasons. Why?

The data supports what we all know, that liberals are considerably overrepresented on university and college campuses. This bias has been growing nationally. In the 1980s the liberal to conservative ratio among facility was 3:1 while today it is closer to 6:1.

This trend is not reflected in the national population where the conservative to moderate to liberal ratio is roughly equal thirds and holding steady over time. In Kootenai County the ratio is strongly conservative with 60% conservative, 30% moderate, and only10% liberal (based on political party affiliation of registered voters). This conservative majority has grown by over 12% in the last 20 years.

What is the purpose of a community college? Is it to inculcate a particular political perspective or is it to provide the knowledge and skills necessary for students to prosper in society? Indoctrination or education?

Our Idaho Constitution established the requirement for a system of public schools specifically to ensure the stability of a republican form of government yet our public colleges are incubators for Marxist, socialist and even communist ideologies. This is because for these ideologies to survive they must be cultivated in young and impressionable minds. They don’t last long in real world applications. For example, the once prosperous Venezuelans allowed socialism to take root and within a few years they were reduced to eating their zoo animals.

The NIC Board of Trustees has three main responsibilities, approving the budget, setting policy and hiring the president. It is the president who hires everyone else and therefore sets the direction of the college. It is the president who controls the issues that affect accreditation. The struggle at NIC isn’t about nursing programs or dual credits or women’s wrestling. The fight is over the liberal education establishment maintaining “their” president, their beachhead in the minds of Kootenai County students, your children.

The liberal establishment is attempting to pressure the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) to use accreditation as a weapon to subvert the authority of the Board of Trustees to hire the president.

Examine the sequence of events.

Under liberal President MacLennan, NIC enrollment was on a steady decline while staffing was steadily increasing. Student academic freedom was stifled as grades depended not only on proficiency but also on the student’s alignment with the instructor’s political philosophy. Complaints were dismissed as instructor discretion. Social justice curricula and mask mandates were typical “features” of the MacLennan administration.

The accreditation issue heated up when MacLennan was terminated and conservative interim president Sebaaly was hired. The topic of Sebaaly’s doctoral thesis was Board Governance, making him uniquely qualified.

The liberal establishment used the threat of litigation to force one conservative trustee to resign and then had the two remaining liberal trustees step down allowing the appointed State Board of Education (SBOE) to appoint three unelected trustees who then quickly fired Sebaaly and hired liberal insider Swayne. Talk of accreditation woes simmered down….until the election when the conservative majority was restored by a vote of the citizens.

The new board promptly put Swayne on administrative leave while the circumstances of his hiring were investigated. Interim President Greg South Ph.D. was hired to guide NIC. The loss of accreditation screeching knob got turned to 11.

The deplorable shouting, bullying, name calling, heckling, and fire alarm pulling behavior of some students, staff, faculty, and “friends” of NIC presents a terrible picture of what NIC produces. While these malcontents are a tiny, but vocal minority, their examples would cause the casual observer to say that NIC SHOULD lose accreditation because it is closer to a nursery school than in institution of higher learning.

The Board of Trustees also needs to appreciate the first rule of boards, that once a decision of the board is made it becomes the position of the entire board, not just the majority members. If those in the minority depart from this then they set the example of how they should be treated when they are in the majority. Board cohesion is more important than any individual opinion.

Kootenai County conservatives need to ignore the liberal gaslighting and see this for what it is, another attempt to use accreditation as a weapon to overthrow the results of a fair election.

If you believe in the true mission of NIC, to provide the knowledge and skills necessary for students to prosper in society, and you want to see that mission fulfilled, then there is only one question you should be asking. What can I do to help?

It’s just common sense.

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Brent Regan is chairman of the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee.