Reviewers assigned by the agency met with college officials and members of the campus community on Tuesday for the final recognition of NIC by North Idaho College.
The Northwest Colleges and Universities Commission (NWCCU) has appointed state NIC representatives following a second complaint by local human rights organizations regarding the conduct of the college’s governing body. The NIC has been regionally recognized by the NWCCU since 1950.
The Board of Trustees has been under intense scrutiny over the past several months, with a recent vote of confidence from the College Workers’ Council and a letter of condolence from Col. Dialene Gosa.
NWCCU Review Team Mark Johnson, former President of the University of Nevada, Reno; Dennis Huftalin, president of the Salt Lake Community College; Glenn Ford, chief financial officer and senior vice president of finance and administration at Western States University; And Mary Hughes, a member of the University of Alaska University Regions Board.
Although the team was originally scheduled to visit the NIC in person, plans have changed due to Covidy-19 concerns.
Interim President Michael Sebaali addressed the NWCCU panel, with each member of the NIC Board of Trustees and the College Academic / Student Affairs, Finance and Human Resource Management Teams, NIC Foundation Board and College Senate Chairs, Faculty Conference and Staff Meeting. The panel participated in three forums: a staff forum where more than 80 NIC participants were enrolled, a teachers’ forum with more than 50 enrollees, and a student forum where 16 individuals were enrolled.
Sebali declined to comment on the situation, citing an ongoing investigation. Suggestions from NIC Associated students were similarly rejected.
Reviewers are now preparing a preliminary report of their results. Although the normal return time for these reports is seven days after the site visit, NIC President Sony Ramaswami said the NIC is a special case.
“Because this panel is a special panel set up to investigate the facts and circumstances of the complaint and the complexity and quantity of information provided and the additional information required, the panel report will take longer than the normal seven days. For review panel reports,” he said in an email.
A recent complaint by the Cote d’Ivoire County Task Force and the Human Rights Task Force in Spokane, Bonner and Boundaries districts to the College’s Board of Trustees continued the Board’s complaint and violated additional accreditation criteria. . The group’s first complaint was filed in March 2021.
After NWCCU-appointed reviewers prepare their initial report, they submit it to the NIC for review. Ramaswami said NIC officials have seven days to correct any factual information.
The final report will be presented to the NWCCU Board of Commissioners for review and action. Ramaswami said this could be at an interim commission meeting or the next regular meeting of the board in June.
Sebali said the college will post the feedback from the NWCCU investigation online in due course.
The NIC Board of Trustees discussed Wednesday’s next steps in the NWCCU investigation.
The meeting is the first since Barnes’ resignation, in the wake of a public outcry over the resignation of former trustee Michael Barnes. Trustees moved on Wednesday to announce the vacant Zone 5 seat, looking for someone to serve at least until the November election.
Prior to his dismissal, the board authorized the state attorney general to examine the suitability of Ken Howard’s residence permit. Board spokesman Mark Lyon said there were no updates on Wednesday.
Housing issues are one of the many internal and external pressures the community has faced over the past several months.
The Board of Trustees passed a vote of confidence in the Board in December, a few months later by a vote of confidence in the Faculty Council. Workers’ Council President Sarah Martin did not respond to a request for comment.
In the meantime, Coeur d’Alene Tribe Chairman Allen expressed his concern in a letter dated December 17, reassuring trustees to “fix this ship” and that “your main priority is education.”
“The questioning of the status quo weakens the institution and casts doubt on the future of every student,” Allen wrote. “This situation is unacceptable and can also be avoided.”
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