SAIPAN UNIVERSITY HAD NO BOOKS, NO MONEY

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By Liberty Dones

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, Sept. 3) – Saipan University had no operational funds, no instructional materials, no library resources, and no functioning laboratory computers, said former Saipan University president Jullie Ulloa in federal court yesterday.

Ulloa, who served as SU president from August 2003 until her resignation in October 2003, testified that while she was hired as president, she never had any authority on budget and financial matters; neither was she involved in advertisement and student recruitment in China last year.

Based on her assessment, SU was not ready to operate as a postsecondary institution.

"We're not ready. I asked for $1,000 to buy some educational materials [because we're obligated to teach the students] but he [Park] said that we didn't have the money," Ulloa said.

She said she had no idea where the students' money went.

Park showed no emotions during Ulloa's testimony, looking straight at her with a level gaze. From time to time, he would talk in an undertone to the person beside him. While giving her testimony, Ulloa would look at Park from time to time.

SU collected $5,000 to $10,000 from each of the nearly 100 recruits from China. These students claimed that Park promised them a study and work program on Saipan, which did not materialize.

Ulloa said it was extremely hard to face the complaining students because they presented payment receipts from Park but Park never furnished her office with those receipts.

On the issue of misleading advertisement, Ulloa said she had raised it with Park a number of times.

"I saw Chinese printouts. It had a picture of SU and its offerings. It's an inaccurate picture. And there's a lot of course offerings," she said, acknowledging that the CNMI State Board of Regents only authorized SU to offer reading, writing and conversational English, and computer laboratory.

She said Park told her that any misleading information on the website would "be taken cared of," citing that it was set up in Korea. So during the state board's compliance check on SU on Sept. 11, she assured its members that the issue had been corrected."I told them it's already been taken cared of. When I checked the website, there's nothing there anymore," she said.

But to her dismay, she said that on Sept. 12, the misleading information popped up again.

"It's there. I [also] saw a lot of organizational charts, lots of names affiliated with SU that I didn't even know," she said.

Ulloa testified that she wrote Park several times to air her concerns about SU but he never acted on them.

She recalled that Park would even get upset whenever she faxed letters "to different numbers" overseas, including China.

After receiving the first cycle of 53 students on Sept. 8, she said she advised Park not to bring in anymore students. "We're not ready to receive additional students," she said, since SU's operations had been paralyzed due to the absence of funds.

Park, however, went right ahead and brought in eight additional students on Sept. 27 and 35 on Oct. 5.

"Students were complaining, vendors were knocking to get paid," she said.

The situation got worse, she said, when SU was evicted from its three-floor rented building in As Lito for nonpayment of rentals for three months. She said the building owner had wrapped the building with yellow tape while the students were in the classroom.

"We were asked to get out. The students got confused," she said.

That was the time when she said "enough is enough." Ulloa resigned from SU on Oct. 15.

Park replaced her with Jess Taisague, who served as president until SU was closed down late last year following the arrest of Park by federal authorities.

Park is attending the trial with his lawyers, Pedro Atalig and Joseph Arriola.

Ulloa is the fourth witness presented by the prosecution, headed by assistant U.S. attorney Patrick Smith.

September 3, 2004

Saipan Tribune: www.saipantribune.com

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