Let’s Focus on Successes at NIC

Samuel Adams believed you should praise someone who deserves it, even when you dislike some things about them. Giving credit where credit is due is long overdue at NIC, where there have been many uncelebrated successes. Amid a flourishing athletics department, boasting new and expanded sports opportunities within a national athletics conference, come promises of many new students. Academically and financially, the college receives top ratings.

The board of trustees has made significant progress toward continued accreditation, thanks to the Association of Community College Trustees training, which has improved communications and organization and was encouraged by Dr. Gregory South and his team. Trustees Tarie Zimmerman and Mike Waggoner have spent countless hours clarifying and revising every single board policy on the books, some of which were thirty years old. Thankfully, we are now well on our way to being free of accreditation issues. The costs incurred were worth every penny to get the college out of the mess it was left in by previous boards and bad actors.

This good news has not been reported in the local established media, nor celebrated by those who constantly degrade and belittle the board of trustees responsible for the progress. Instead, we read about a proposed zoning change for the college.

According to Tony Stewart, the campus is already deed restricted, and nothing else is needed to keep the land from being sold or re-developed in ways not already approved. So why the desire for a zone change? Is the college going somewhere? What is coming to take its place? A university, apparently.

If someone is planning to reorganize the college and do away with elected trustees, what would be needed? In the 2023 legislative session, three different bills were introduced, all aimed at restructuring the college to remove elected trustees. Fortunately, several of our North Idaho legislators were able to defeat these bills, securing our right to govern our college. God bless Rep. Elaine Price, Rep. Tony Wisniewski, Rep. Ron Mendive, and Rep. Dale Hawkins who led the fight against this hijacking. Shame on Mark Sauter of Sandpoint, who voted for it.

A public records request made by a local journalist provided emails between Christie Wood, a Coeur d’Alene City council member and former trustee at the college, and the city manager Troy Tymeson chatting with the city attorney Randy Adams about a possible zone change for the college. When this information was made public, the local established media ran their own article, not to inform readers of this unethical plot, but rather to try to run cover for those involved.

Those who used to control NIC are not celebrating the successes, but those of us who love the college and want it to remain in our community can and will celebrate them. Let the current trustees know that we appreciate how they have pulled together, worked together, and succeeded. They are proving that their hearts are for the college, not against it. Choose to reject the constant stream of negativity from people associated with groups like North Idaho Republicans, Friends of NIC, and SaveNIC, whose goals appear to be in conflict with the majority of the community who feel we owe it to our kids to protect the beautiful college that was created by locals, for locals – providing the benefit of a higher education with an affordable price tag.

by Anne Patterson of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho