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Playing Chicken With Accreditors

Playing Chicken With Accreditors

Inside Higher Ed

Josh Moody
May 1, 2023
Dysfunctional board governance at North Idaho College has led to a revolving door of presidents and numerous violations of open meetings laws. Yet despite multiple warnings from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, the Board of Trustees continues to take actions that may threaten accreditation of the community college in Coeur d’Alene.
NIC’s Board of Trustees met twice last week. In a special meeting last Monday, the board majority nullified President Nick Swayne’s contract, claiming he was hired illegally last year after former trustees conspired on the choice.
Yet despite having his contract declared invalid, Swayne remains in place, a move that the board made clear was to placate NWCCU, the institution’s accreditor, which has specifically cautioned trustees against interfering with the daily operations of the college.
Now, with a show cause order hanging over the college, trustees are walking a fine line with NWCCU: while the three-member, ultra-conservative board majority is still eager to impose its will on the college, it appears to be finally starting to heed the accreditor’s persistent warnings.
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