NIC trustees will meet Wednesday
Staff Writer | January 16, 2023 1:09 AM
COEUR d’ALENE — The North Idaho College board of trustees will meet Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Edminster Student Union Building, in the Lake Coeur d’Alene Room on the main campus.
It will be the first meeting since the board hired Interim President Greg South, who will present a report.
Also on the agenda is a motion for South to “evaluate ASNIC representation” on the board. The item will reportedly call for a nonvoting representative from NIC’s student government to sit with the board during regular meetings.
“Dr. South wants to ensure that the student voice is heard and is looking to work with the board on finding an opportunity for enhancing student communication with the board,” said Laura Rumpler, NIC’s chief communications and government relations officer.
ASNIC President Damian Maxwell told The Press that he met with South this week to discuss a proposal.
“Other colleges do it,” he said. “I’m not opposed to it by any means.”
But Maxwell said he struggles to see the benefit of sitting with the board as a nonvoting member or what difference it would make, as he already sits with the Faculty Assembly, Staff Assembly and NIC Senate during regular meetings.
“It seems like, if I’m going to be quite frank, political theater,” Maxwell said. “I don’t care where I sit. I just want to fix accreditation.”
From Maxwell’s perspective, the inclusion of a nonvoting student trustee might give the appearance that the college values student perspectives without giving any real weight to them.
“Really, they’re just putting me from one important table to another important table,” he said.
ASNIC Senator Alex Elliott echoed that sentiment. He said Friday that he believes the proposal is largely a show for outside observers, including NIC’s accrediting organization, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
“Everybody is aware that the NWCCU is very intensely watching NIC,” Elliott said.
In order to make students feel their voices are heard, Elliott said the board must take meaningful action on concerns brought up by students. That includes taking steps to protect NIC’s accreditation and changing the behavior some board members have exhibited.
“The misconduct affects everybody,” Elliott said. “It affects this college. Everybody should conduct themselves responsibly and respectfully.”
Information items related to accreditation and enrollment will be presented during Wednesday’s meeting. There will be a public comment period.
The meeting will be available for viewing online via Zoom, with a link found at nic.edu/board.