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NIC board meeting a no-go

by KAYE THORNBRUGH
Staff Writer | March 31, 2023 1:09 AM

COEUR d’ALENE — A special meeting of the North Idaho College trustees did not happen Thursday night because Greg McKenzie, Todd Banducci and Mike Waggoner were not in attendance.

Trustees Tarie Zimmerman and Brad Corkill were present, but at least three trustees are needed for quorum. With only two, the meeting could not occur.

An executive session was scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m., followed by a public session an hour later. A few dozen people had gathered in the Lake Coeur d’Alene Room of the Edminster Student Union Building on the main campus.

Zimmerman confirmed that she and Corkill called the meeting so the board could discuss and confirm the college’s litigation strategy ahead of a hearing scheduled this morning, where attorneys representing NIC will argue that Judge Cynthia Meyer should reverse her decision to reinstate President Nick Swayne.

It’s unclear why the three trustees didn’t show.

Banducci is reportedly out of the country. He and the college's attorney, Art Macomber, called into Monday’s special meeting by phone but there was no sign of them Thursday.

It appeared McKenzie and Waggoner had not alerted anyone they would be absent.

Kelly Drew, the attorney representing NIC in Swayne’s lawsuit and two other pending cases, did not attend the meeting. Drew has attended most board meetings since she was assigned in February to the cases by NIC’s insurer.

NIC President Nick Swayne and the two present trustees took comments and questions from the audience while waiting for the three men who never appeared.

Several community members asked for updates on NIC’s response to its accrediting body, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The NWCCU issued a show cause warning last month, the last step before loss of accreditation.

A report from NIC explaining why it should remain accredited is due today.

Swayne said Thursday night that NIC had already submitted the response, which was crafted by about 15 people. The document is expected to be made available to the public via NIC’s website in the coming days.

“We put everything we have into that thing,” Swayne said. “We only have one shot, so it’s as thorough as it can be.”