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November 07, 2001 - Palikir, Pohnpei

Update from the President's Office - No. 197

November 07, 2001


To:       All Regents, Faculty, Staff, and Students

From:     President

Subject:  Update from the President's Office-No.197

Meeting with FSM Secretary of Justice re: security. FSM Secretary of Justice Paul McIlrath, along with FSM Chief of Security Pius Chotailug and Lt. Johnny Santos, met with the COM-FSM Cabinet on Thursday, November 1, 2001, to brief members on steps being taken by the FSM to ensure the safety and security of FSM citizens. The Secretary opened his remarks by emphasizing the unique relationship the FSM has had with the United States over the past 50 years, its position as an ally of Israel, and its strategic location and proximity to Guam and Kwajalein all of which may put the FSM at risk. He then summarized the steps the FSM National Government has taken since the events of September 11th which include: establishment of a National Security Council which meets at least once a week, strengthening of security at all airports, restriction of movement of foreign nationals from fishing boats, increased sharing of information with US agencies including the FBI and other governments including Australia, coordinated entrance patrols, and enhanced quarantine and customs checks. It is felt that the FSM is especially vulnerable to known terrorist cells in the Philippines and Indonesia. The Secretary emphasized that there is no need to feel threatened by FSM citizens; however, the FSM could be used as a stepping stone by citizens from other countries. Three advisories have been issued by the FSM including one in early October warning of a potential attack (both domestic and overseas), a warning on anthrax a week later, and another Security Alert/Travel Advisory issued on October 31, 2001, that warned law enforcement agencies, citizens and U.S. interests abroad to be on "highest alert" in the coming days because of possible new terrorist action. This advisory requests that all FSM citizens take extreme caution when traveling overseas and avoid travel to parts of the world that present increased security risks to FSM and U.S. citizens. It further advises all FSM citizens to report any suspicious activity they observe to their local State Public Safety Department or to the National Police in Palikir at (691) 320-2628. Copies of this advisory were placed in all staff boxes last Thursday.

Regarding the anthrax threat, the Secretary mentioned that the FSM President's Office has received several suspicious letters that have been sent to Guam for testing. The FSM National Police has officers who have been trained to handle hazardous materials. He cautioned that everyone should be vigilant. Lt. Santos advised that letters that have no return address, are unusually thick, or are lopsided should be referred to the National Police. If anyone should open a letter that contains powder, he/she should immediately cover the letter completely, turn off air conditioners, inform everyone to vacate the building, wash his/her hands thoroughly, and contact the FSM National Police. To date there is no evidence that anyone in the FSM has been targeted by anthrax. The FSM Post Office has been working in partnership with the US Post Office with regards to the anthrax threat and local post office staff members have been trained to handle the mail.

The Secretary further commented that the FSM National Police has enhanced the patrols of all government facilities, including COM-FSM, with 10 additional officers. He invited Director of Maintenance Francisco Mendiola, the head of the National Campus security force, and Pohnpei Campus Assistant Director Jeffrey Arnold to attend upcoming meetings of the National Security Council. Everyone is encouraged to stay informed on these matters by reading advisories promulgated by the FSM as well as by checking CNN or other news sources.

Cabinet actions. A proposed articulation agreement with the University of Idaho was approved at the October 19, 2001, Cabinet meeting. This agreement will be included on the agenda of the December Board of Regents meeting. The Policy Development Plan for School Year 2001-2002 was also approved at the October 19th meeting.

At the November 2, 2001, meeting, the Cabinet approved the Policy on Instructional Program Evaluation. This policy reads as follows:

Program evaluation at the College of Micronesia-FSM is a part of the institution's overall planning and assessment processes. It provides the divisions and state campuses an opportunity to evaluate a program and its goals and objectives as they relate to the College's mission. The program evaluation is done annually using the following health indicators: program enrollment, graduation rate, average class size, students' seat cost, completion rate for all courses, students' satisfaction rate, employment data, and students' transfer rate.

The full policy statement includes the procedures for implementation.

At the November 2nd meeting the Cabinet also decided to respond affirmatively to an invitation extended by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges to pilot the new accreditation standards when developing the next self study report. At this meeting, Director of Research and Planning Greg Myers also presented the current draft of the strategic plan for review.

Next Board of Regents meeting. The next meeting of the COM-FSM Board of Regents has been rescheduled to the week of December 10-14, 2001, to ensure that all Regents will be able to attend. Reports for this meeting are due no later than November 26, 2001. This meeting will be hosted by Pohnpei Campus.

Alcohol and Other Drug Awareness Week. This section of the Update references only National Campus activities. Pohnpei Campus activities will be highlighted in a future edition. Appreciation is expressed to the organizing committee for this year's Alcohol and Other Drug Awareness Week activities for a successful week. Members include: Morehna R. Santos - Chairperson, Benina Ilon - Co-chairperson, Goldi Myers - Co-chairperson, Henry Wilson, member, Patricio Ramirez, member, Nancy Simor, member, and Iansin Johnson, member. Recognition is also extended to Director of Maintenance Francisco Mendiola and the maintenance staff, members of the recreation staff, Acting Cafeteria Supervisor Jim Alexander and the cafeteria staff, and all of the Peer Counseling staff. Appreciation is also expressed to the judges for the competitions who were as follows: Alicia Ada, Harvey Segal, and Paul Gallen for the song competition; Ideia Sackryas, Joseph Saimon, and Luciano Mathias for the poster competition; and Jonathan Gourlay and Eric Mecklenburg for the essay/poetry competition. Special thanks are also extended to the following community supporters: FSM Secretary of Foreign Affairs Ieske Iehsi, Mrs. Iehsi, and Adrian Iehsi, Jr. for a most moving presentation; Dr. Annette Zimmern and Dr. Jim Reed of the FSM Substance Abuse and Mental Health Program for their presentation and funds for the purchase of 100 t-shirts and 2 banners; FSM National Police Lt. Lihno Amor; Pohnpei State Director of Public Safety Rulens Phillip; Sheriff Filomeno Ifamilik of Sokehs Municipal Police; Pohnpei State Substance Abuse and Mental Health Coordinator Mitchon Ioanis; Micronesia Bound Executive Director Hinden Alexander; and Captain Scott Nicloy of the Salvation Army.

Winners of the various competitions are as follows: theme - Mayson Fredrick and Thomas Neth tied for first place; songs - Kosraeans (1st), Chuukese (2nd), Yapese (3rd), and Easterners (4th); essays - Rachel Salomon (1st) and Gorman Booth, Jr. (2nd);
posters - Gloreen Malakai (1st), Al-lien Mori (2nd), Yoon Route (3rd), Gaiser Torres (4th), and Hainrick Thomsin (5th); and poems - Iona Weilbacher (1st) and Gorman Booth (2nd). Congratulations to all winners!!

CCLDI meeting. As mentioned in Update 196 I attended a meeting of the Community College Leadership Development Initiative (CCLDI) Board of Directors on October 26, 2001, in Los Angeles. The meeting agenda included the following topics: Report from the Community College Leadership Institute; Report from Hawaii; Report from the Western Pacific; California Legislation (SB 894); Funding Issues and Strategies; Next CCLDI Publication; Board Development; and Financial Report. A very beneficial discussion was held after the meeting with the representative of the University of Hawaii regarding the implementation of leadership development activities to meet the needs of the presidents of Western Pacific institutions. This information has been forwarded to Pacific Postsecondary Education Council (PPEC) Chairperson Jack Sablan. Although the CCLDI Board has encouraged me to continue membership on the Board, it will be difficult for me to travel to the rather frequent meetings given my teaching responsibilities beginning next spring. Therefore, I have made arrangements to resign from this Board with the assurance that the Western Pacific institutions will continue to be represented by a PPEC member.

Micronesian College Network. Division of Social Sciences Chairperson Robert Churney has announced the arrival of The Micronesian College Network which is a web-based forum designed for students from COM-FSM, Palau Community College, and the College of the Marshall Islands. This forum is being funded by the Sasakawa Foundation and is being facilitated in by the Micronesian Seminar in collaboration with the COM-FSM Social Science Division. To access the forum, click on the link:

Visit by Ambassador of France. Ambassador Jean-Pierre Vidon, Ambassador of France to the FSM, visited the National Campus on October 31, 2001. During this visit the Ambassador promised to send information on a marine research studies program. He also indicated interest in supporting scholarships for FSM citizens studying journalism.

TPREL Board of Directors meeting. I will be traveling to Hilo, Hawaii to attend a meeting of the PREL Board of Directors from November 9-13, 2001. During my absence, Vice President for Support and Student Affairs Ringlen Ringlen will act in my stead.

Personnel. We extend a warm welcome to Kaichiro Harold who is serving as an instructor for the Chuuk Bilingual Program and Goldie Myers who was hired as the Project Coordinator for the Peer Counseling Centers. Welcome to the College!

I am pleased to announce the arrival of Shanalin Kenye "Ama" Lee Ling who was born on October 20, 2001, weighing in at 7 pounds 12 ounces. Shanalin is named for her older siblings, her mother, and her father: SHarisey/SHrue, dANA, and marLIN. Congratulations to the proud parents and siblings!!

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