The fledgling College of Western Idaho–approved by voters last year–is about to get off on the wrong foot with plans to have “invitation only” meetings to gather information to shape the future of the college.
It is inappropriate, demeaning, and illegal to hold meetings with “common citizens” in public and then conduct a similar set of closed meetings with the elite “community and business leaders and elected officials.”
Such “back room” strategy of apartheid is offensive to the GUARDIAN and exemplifies all that is wrong with local politics in Idaho. It is a slap in the face to the majority of citizens who voted to tax themselves–only to be excluded from the REAL decision making process. Even if it is an “innocent oversight,” it is shameful to even contemplate private meetings with the rich and powerful. At least their decision was based on money and power rather than race.
Nice gesture to meet the public Aug. 21 at 7pm in the Nampa Civic Center and then again at the Boise Center on the Grove at 7pm Aug. 28. However, Idaho’s Open Meeting Law demands TOTAL ACCESS, even to those of us who are not of the privileged minority known as “community and business leaders.”
The Chamber of Commerce can limit their meetings to Idaho Elite, but a government funded and managed institution of higher learning must abide by the Open Meeting Law.
Shame on CWI officials for even contemplating the idea of excluding those of who pay their salaries from a “deliberation” aimed at shaping the future of students who may someday attend the school.
Thanks to the Daily Paper for publishing the plans for “apartheid meetings.” CWI didn’t send us that press release.
UPDATE 3p.m. Monday 8/18/08
The GUARDIAN obtained a copy of the invitation to the “STAKEHOLDERS” which reads in part as follows:
“”… we are hosting a series of “Community Conversations” in Canyon and Ada counties on August 21 and August 28, respectively. You have been recommended to participate in a stakeholder focus group. Your session is being held on Thursday, August 28, at the Boise Centre on the Grove in the Peregrines Room. The event will start promptly at 1:30 and will end by 5:00. If you are unable to attend this session and would still like to participate, please contact us to select another session.
“These sessions will be comprised of other invited guests in the community, representing business/industry, economic development, state and local government, parents, and higher education. To ensure broad representational voice in the process, we are also holding two evening sessions on the same dates that will be open to the general public.”
It seems clear whether intended or not, the message is: “We are having private sessions for you Mr. Elite and evening sessions for the public.” The press release (which we also obtained) made absolutely NO MENTION that “Daytime sessions are also available for public interactive participation.” In fact, the release made no mention of the private “STAKEHOLDER” sessions–the Daily Paper provided that tidbit.
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