Thursday, May 30, 2024

MY TURN: Deception through omission

by MIKE HENGGELER/Guest opinion
| March 18, 2023 1:00 AM

Deception occurs either through the dissemination of information that is factually incorrect or the omission of information that is integral to the issue at hand. The latter tactic is on full display in Brent Regan’s “Common Sense” column of March 10, 2023.

We are told that the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Rights filed an original letter of complaint advocating that NIC lose accreditation. What we are not told is that not one, but four county task forces jointly submitted the complaint detailing policy violations by the board majority and unprofessional behaviors by the board chair, all of which served to put NIC at risk of losing accreditation. We are also not told that the purpose of the complaint is to obtain help from the NWCCU and the Department of Justice in ensuring that the NIC board follows both the law and established policy. Failure to follow laws and/or established policies is what threatens accreditation, not letters of complaint.

We are told that Trustee Banducci said “mean things” to Trustee Wood. We are not told that the “mean things” were reported to be a threat of physical violence.

We are told that Trustee Banducci insisted that the Pledge of Allegiance not be bastardized. We are not told that the alleged bastardization was the omission of the words “under God.” While I believe in God, it is unAmerican to force that belief on others or to compel them to go through the motions of saying words reflecting a religious belief with which they do not identify.

We are not told about Trustee Banducci chastising former president MacLennan via email for his wife’s support of a political candidate not to his liking as if that should be relevant to the working relationship between a trustee and the president.

We are not told about how Trustee Banducci reportedly intimidated an employee for supporting Joe Dunlap during NIC trustee elections.

We are not told about how Trustee Banducci was witnessed verbally and physically assaulting a college employee resulting in a non-financial settlement where he agreed to no further contact with the employee.

We are not told that Trustee Banducci was censured by the board for his unprofessional and inappropriate conduct.

The second letter of complaint, like the first, was submitted jointly by the same four county task forces, not just one. We are told that the substance of the letter is complaining about the board majority not acquiescing to the demand of the minority. We are not told that the letter consists of over five pages (excluding attachments) itemizing in detail significant policy violations on the part of the board majority, primarily in the hiring of an interim president.

We are not told that the letter references an admission to the NWCCU by the board that it had overstepped the boundaries of its role as well as misconduct by the board chair.

We are not told that former Trustee Barnes openly encouraged that NIC violate laws that he felt were “wrong.” Based on his actions, he also felt that it was “wrong” to live in the zone he was elected to represent.

Regan characterizes content of the second letter of complaint as a “veiled threat”—an allegation completely lacking in credibility. The county task forces have no authority over NIC or its trustees. What the task forces have done is file complaints supported by extensive documentation. That is their right as well as their duty. Regan asks “Where’s the beef? Where are the serious violations that would justify losing accreditation?” His insinuation appears to be that the task forces manufactured issues out of thin air. Let’s apply some “common sense” to that. Had the issues not been substantiated during the course of the NWCCU’s investigations, would they not have been dismissed with the result being that NIC would be cleared? Since NIC is now at the “show cause” stage, that suggests there must have been plenty of beef. Don’t just take my word for it, though — see it for yourself first-hand at (information related to the complaints and accreditation investigation) or google “A County Turns Against Its College” by The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Regan further characterizes ideological direction as being at the heart of the issues at NIC — supposedly - true conservative ideals threatened by woke liberal globalists and elites (those dog whistle words are essential to triggering the desired reactions). That, of course, is more deception. More than anything, this is a battle of character, ethics and integrity — either you’ve got them or you don’t. Consider the known actions and events surrounding NIC that have purposely been hidden from you. Consider whose actions have been duplicitous. Then you will know whom not to trust, not just with respect to NIC but a plethora of other issues as well. It’s just common sense.

Mike Henggeler is a resident of Coeur d'Alene.