January 26, 2022

Idaho Group Faculty Board Dumps Professional-Masks President Rick MacLennan, Faucets Wrestling Coach As a substitute

4 min read


A group faculty board in northern Idaho has been torn asunder after a wrestling coach with no obvious expertise in working colleges was appointed interim president weeks after its pro-mask mandate president was fired.

The North Idaho Faculty Board of Trustees booted Rick MacLennan throughout a September assembly, after repeatedly delaying a vote to resume his contract and a weeks-long bitter dispute over whether or not or not masks needs to be required on campus to guard the workers and college students.

When he introduced the masks mandate earlier than the beginning of courses, MacLennan framed it as โ€œnot in the slightest degree fascinatingโ€ however a crucial effort supported by well being steering that โ€œimproves our probabilities of having the ability to keep open this fall.โ€

However simply 4 days into the semester, MacLennan wrote to the group alerting them to a revised coverage after the masks requirement was knocked down by the facultyโ€™s Board of Trustees.

โ€œI’m really hopeful that you just, and importantly, our college students select to proceed masking regardless of the lifting of the requirement,โ€ MacLennan wrote in his Aug. 30 letter.

MacLennanโ€™s name for a mandate was swatted down in a 3-2 board vote by Chair Todd Banducci, together with trustees Greg McKenzie and Michael Barnes, who voted in favor of rescinding the mandate. Trustees Ken Howard and Christie Wooden voted in opposition to it.

In a duplicate of an e mail to the board obtained by Inside Higher Ed, MacLennan pleaded with board members to rethink their determination, citing an open letter from medical professionals encouraging the measure, whereas flagging โ€œgrowing COVID-19 constructive instances inside our faculty groupโ€ pushed by the Delta variant.

Weeks later MacLennan, whose contract had been commonly renewed since his appointment in 2016, was terminated and the board. On Monday, they chose Michael Sebaaly, who coached wrestling on the faculty, to function interim president till they may conduct a sweeping, nationwide expertise seek for a brand new president. He’ll step in for performing president Lita Burns.

In accordance with the Spokesman-Review, following a two-hour lengthy govt session on Monday, trustees voted 3-2 to put in Sebaaly with out discussing what certified the bodily training teacher to run the establishment which enrolls 5,000 college students.

Banducci and McKenzie, together with Barnesโ€”the identical trio who opposed the masks mandateโ€”supported Sebaalyโ€™s appointment.

In accordance with an online biography describing his credentials, Sebaaly has a doctorate in academic management and spent 5 years as head wrestling coach at Northwest Kansas Technical Faculty. The {qualifications} listed on the collegeโ€™s web site donโ€™t element his management expertise outdoors of sports activities.

Sebaaly didn’t reply to The Each day Beastโ€™s request for touch upon Wednesday about some other {qualifications} for the function.

Wooden, who opposed Sebaalyโ€™s appointment, described the choice course of for a job boasting a $200,000 prorated wage as corrupt.

โ€œA few of these persons are simply private acquaintances with the board chair,โ€ Wooden informed the Spokesman-Overview. โ€œThe method has been fully corrupted, and itโ€™s been finished so by three trustees who had folks in thoughts for the place. It has nothing to do with {qualifications} to run a better training establishment. It has to do with private friendships and (political) ideology.โ€

Board member Ken Howard, who additionally opposed Sebaalyโ€™s appointment, informed the outlet the function ought to require a minimal 5 yearsโ€™ administrative expertise. Howard didn’t instantly reply to The Each day Beastโ€™s request for remark.

However in accordance with a duplicate of the job advert circulating on-line, alongside an inventory of preferences, the one formal requirement for the function is a graspโ€™s diploma from a regionally accredited establishment, the Spokesman-Overview reported. Sebaaly obtained a graspโ€™s diploma in historical past from Buffalo State Faculty.

Within the aftermath of his firing, MacLennan filed a authorized criticism in opposition to the faculty and the three board members who voted on Monday for his substitute, claiming he had been unlawfully fired.

The trail to his departure has prolonged past masks mandates and was additional sophisticated by different inside board politics, colleagues stated.

In accordance with Inside Higher Ed, Banducci had been angling to dispose of MacLennan for months after MacLennan flagged inappropriate conduct by Banducci, together with accusations of bodily assault in opposition to a feminine worker, which triggered an unsuccessful recall effort in opposition to Banducci.

Wooden informed the outlet she had referred to as for Banducciโ€™s resignation, describing the habits in query in a letter to the group as โ€œabusive and aggressive.โ€

The board at North Idaho Faculty has been embroiled in an ongoing investigation by its accreditor, the Northwest Fee on Faculties and Universities, since March, after it acquired a proper criticism about Banducci and different board members.

Banducci, Wooden, and a spokesperson for the college didn’t reply to requests for remark by the point of publication on Wednesday.



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