By Gemma Q. Casas

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Dec.1) – Saipan University President Jesus Taisague says he is suspending the arrival of some 300 students from China until the "problem" with the students who are already here is resolved.

The university is also retaining the services of former Attorney General Robert T. Torres as its lawyer and spokesman in light of the planned government investigation of the the students’ complaints.

Former Northern Marianas College President Agnes M. McPhetres, for her part, was hired as consultant to the university’s interim board of trustees.

"We welcome the investigation," said Taisague. "I like to resolve these things. If there’s any mistake, then let’s fix it. We are indefinitely suspending the arrival of more students until agreements are in place," he added.

Dozens of Chinese students said they were cheated by the university which, they claimed, promised them jobs if they would study in the CNMI.

The students later learned that they could only be hired as interns by the university itself.

They are also accusing the university of shortchanging them by providing them with poor accommodations. Each pays $300 month for rent and food.

Taisague said the university is willing to refund the unused portion of the tuition of students who want to go back to China.

Each student paid a tuition fee of $3,500 for a semester to study English as a second language.

"If the (students) are not satisfied and if they want to go back, we will refund the unused portion of their tuition," said Taisague.

Last week, the university officials met with the State Board of Regents.

The university was told to submit its updated report by Nov. 30.

Taisague said the report is part of the requirements of their provisional license which was granted last March.

Taisague said they have also told their recruiters in China to stop distributing the promotional brochure that shows a sprawling campus site.

Taisague said it is very likely that there was some miscommunication in the way the students were recruited.

"The founder is Korean. The recruiter is Chinese. The text is in English. I’m pretty sure there’s just some miscommunication," Taisague said.

December 1, 2003

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