NIC receives a warning | Bonner County Daily Bee
COEUR d’ALENE — More than a year after five regional human rights organizations filed the first of two lawsuits against North Idaho College, the college was told last week that its accreditation was at risk of official to be cancelled.
According to a press release issued Monday by the college, the Northwestern Commission on Colleges and Universities issued an action letter on Friday sanctioning the NIC with a warning, citing ongoing issues specifically related to the NIC board of trustees. .
Commissioners found that the college failed to meet a requirement for governing board eligibility, as well as two standards related to governance and institutional integrity.
“I am not surprised that the NWCCU has focused on the board and we have received a warning,” administrator Greg McKenzie wrote in a message to the press. “Recently returning from a National Governance Leadership Institute for College Administrators, I am committed to implementing the lessons learned by prioritizing the needs of the college above self-interest and returning to this board the overriding goal of good board governance.”
A peer review panel convened by the NWCCU had previously recommended that the college’s accreditation be placed on probationary status, but the commission issued a warning instead, with oversight requirements and recommendations to put the college on probation. in accordance with accreditation standards related to board governance.
“NWCCU has identified specific areas of focus and improvement and I am personally committed to ensuring that we succeed as NIC plays a vital role in our region, for our students and for our local economy,” said Board Chairman Todd Banducci said in a press release. from college.
Banducci’s leadership was specifically cited in several complaints from the peer panel report. The press published details of the panel’s report in a March 4 article.
When contacted by The Press on Monday for further comment, Banducci said he didn’t have time to respond but would try to reach out if he could save time.
“We are fortunate to have avoided being immediately placed on probation,” administrator Christie Wood said in a statement to The Press. “I am grateful to the NWCCU for their decision. However, if President Todd Banducci and Administrator Greg McKenzie do not adhere to NWCCU’s recommendations, begin to follow policy, law and educational standards, it is clear that immediate and severe sanctions will be imposed on NIC. .
Wood said the actions of the two trustees over the past year and a half have been reckless, driven by personal agendas, and have caused great harm to the institution.
Following the warning sanction imposed, the commission requires the NIC to take appropriate action to ensure that the listed recommendations are resolved within the next year. This includes adding a fifth Trustee to meet the minimum requirement of five Trustees.
Former trustee Michael Barnes resigned from the board in January in the face of a potential lawsuit over his claims to legally reside in Zone 5. The board meets on Wednesday to schedule interviews with candidates for the vacancy.
With respect to NWCCU’s oversight of the NIC, the college is required to submit reports within seven days of each board meeting through the spring of 2023. The reports will cover governance, agenda and draft board meeting minutes, notification of board membership changes, links to video recordings of meetings, and a list of public comments.
The NWCCU letter states that despite commitments made by the board over the past year to rectify areas needing improvement, “…the institution continues to be non-compliant with eligibility condition 9 and standards 2.A.1 and 2.D.2 relating to the demonstration of high ethical standards in governance and management, including the responsibility of the NIC Board of Directors to ensure integrity in its deliberations and its actions, ethical treatment of stakeholders and constituents, adherence to institutional and board policies, and adherence to policies on conflicts of interest.
“In light of the foregoing, the Commission concludes that the actions of the NIC Board of Directors to date do not provide assurance that the Board has followed or will follow agreed-upon steps…to restore effective governance in North Idaho. Middle School.
Acting President Mike Sebaaly said the college takes the warning very seriously.
“I will continue to work with our board and I will continue to ask them to work together and find common ground, to move forward and to address the concerns expressed by the NWCCU,” Sebaaly said. “We will continue to operationally do the work of the college.”
The college is holding two forums for college leaders to share additional details about the sanction in the Coeur d’Alene Lake Room in the Student Union Building. The first forum is today at noon, and a second forum is Wednesday at 5 p.m.
The warning sanction can be lifted or maintained depending on the results of an on-site visit carried out in the spring of 2023 by the commission. Failure to demonstrate demonstrable evidence of progress in resolving the issues raised above could result in a sanction of probation or show cause, according to the action letter.
The justification is the last step before withdrawing the accreditation. The burden of proof would be on the NIC to demonstrate why its accreditation should be maintained, according to the NIC’s webpage.