Friday, January 27, 2023

EDITORIAL: Let's hear from NIC student trustee

| January 18, 2023 1:00 AM

When the North Idaho College board of trustees meets today, they may decide to welcome a new voice — that of NIC students through the presence of a student government representative.

The proposal for a non-voting student trustee is so obviously “political theater,” as ASNIC President Damian Maxwell astutely put it, that even leaders of the accrediting agency weighing the college’s fate should blush.

And yet …

The suggestion from Greg South, who is the acting president over the objections of about 99% of NIC students, staff and faculty but the darling of the three trustees controlling the board, deserves consideration.

The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities won’t be fooled one bit by this ruse to make it appear Trustees Todd Banducci, Greg McKenzie and Mike Waggoner care one iota about the students whose futures they’re working feverishly to destroy.

And nobody should conclude that freshly appointed South is all about student welfare. If that's unfair, he has at most the 18 months of his dubiously crafted contract to prove otherwise.

The proposal deserves consideration for the simple reason that as the three trustees in control roil the previously clear, clean waters of NIC, an authentic student leader’s voice would be extremely valuable in providing context to the chaos.

We say authentic student leader because if the recent past foreshadows the immediate future, Trustees Waggoner, McKenzie and Banducci will pick a puppet preselected to promote their non-academic, purely political agenda.

A strong voice from a knowledgeable, courageous student leader must be part of the deal if this idea moves forward. South met last week with an excellent candidate: ASNIC President Damian Maxwell. If Maxwell declined the offer, his recommendation would suffice.

The non-vote clause is hard to swallow but legally, there is no other option. A student’s views would almost certainly not change the minds of McKenzie, Waggoner and Banducci, but those views could present a stark and valuable contrast to the direction the three trustees are marching.

If the curtain rises on this particular act of political theater, the audience might be enlightened. At the very least, they’ll be entertained.

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