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Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee,

We wish to thank you for providing the opportunity for the presidents of Palau Community College, the College of the Marshall Islands, and the College of Micronesia-FSM to clarify our collective position regarding S.210.

Historical Summary. Before proceeding we feel it would be helpful to provide a brief summary of the situation.

In 1978, during the period when the Micronesian region was being administered by the United States as the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, the Community College of Micronesia (CCM) in Pohnpei, its School of Nursing (then located in Saipan), and the Micronesian Occupational Center (MOC) in Palau formed the College of Micronesia (COM). COM was designated a landgrant college in 1981 through Section 506(a) of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Public Law 92-318, as amended; 7 U.S.C. 301 note).

The CCM School of Nursing moved from Saipan to the Marshall Islands in 1986. In 1987 a treaty was signed among the three newly independent nations of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Palau, and the Federated States of Micronesia affirming a desire to continue supporting COM. In 1989 the CCM School of Nursing separated from CCM to become COM-Majuro. It should be noted that each component institution of the COM system (CCM, MOC, and COM-Majuro) attained, and has since maintained, accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

In 1991 an agreement was signed among the governments of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands to restructure COM to provide for more local autonomy. In 1993 each of the three colleges of the COM system became autonomous institutions under separate governing boards in all areas except those related to administration of the land-grant programs. (MOC became Palau Community College; CCM became the College of Micronesia-FSM; and COM-Majuro became the College of the Marshall Islands.) Because COM was designated by Congress as the land-grant institution for the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, a Congressional amendment is required to allow each of the Micronesian colleges to administer the land-grant programs.

Land-Grant Status. Efforts have been undertaken since 1993 for each of the colleges in the COM system to be designated land-grant colleges. The COM Board of Regents is fully supportive of these efforts as demonstrated by COM Board Resolution 95-2.

RESOLUTION 95-2

WHEREAS, by the Treaty Among the Governments of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of Palau Regarding the College of Micronesia, the College has been decentralized by the establishment of autonomous colleges for all purposes other than exercising the powers and duties of the Land Grant Program of the College of Micronesia; and;

WHEREAS, this decentralization has enabled the College to respond more quickly and efficiently to local conditions and needs; and

WHEREAS, the decentralization has now been in effect since April, 1993, and has proved to be a success; and

WHEREAS, the centralization of the administration of the Land Grant Program has not proven to be efficient, cost-effective, or an adequate method to respond to the individual needs of the three nations; and

WHEREAS, the Treaty anticipated, and made plans for, a day when each college component would obtain separate status as a Land Grant College pursuant to Title 7 of the United States Code;

BE IT RESOLVED

That the Board of Regents hereby adopts, as a policy, its support of efforts to amend section 506 of the Education Amendments of 1972, to grant the College of the Marshall Islands, the College of Micronesia-FSM, and Palau Community College, separate Land Grant status.

Is Yoichi Rengill, Chair; Evelyn Konou, Vice Chair; and Bermin Weilbacher, Secretary/

Treasurer

An August 24, 1996 letter to Senator Frank H. Murkowski further clarified the COM Board's position.

August 24, 1996

Senator Frank H. Murkowski 706 Hart Senate Omee Building Washington, D.C. SOS10

Dear Senator Murkowski:

The College of Micronesia Board of Regents (COM BOR) wishes to express its appreciation of your support and activities on its behalf as legislation is being shepherded through Congress to address new Land Grant Status for its member colleges. Honoring the dialogue that has been established with your office, the following is submitted:

On August 24, 1996, the COM BOR clarifies its intent in passing Resolution 95-2 addressing Land Grant Status for the College of the Marshall Islands, the College of Micronesia -FSM, and Palau Community College. The COM BOR expresses its full support of Public Law 96-374 Sec. 1361. (c) in seeking new and individual Land Grant Status for its member colleges and affirms the position that: “Any provision of any Act of Congress relating to the operation of or provision of assistance to a land grant college in the Virgin Islands or Guam shall apply to new individual land grant colleges in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of Palau in the same manner and to the same extent." As such, the COM BOR seeks a status for its member colleges equal to that granted to the Land Grant Colleges in the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas. The COM BOR recommends amendments to legislation affecting Land Grant Status by striking out "Micronesia” and inserting in lieu thereof "the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of Palau”; and by striking out “College of Micronesia” and inserting in lieu thereof "the College of the Marshall Islands, the College of Micronesia-FSM, and Palau Community College.” Such amendments are directed towards Public Law 96-374 Sec. 1361., Public Law 92-318 Sec. 506., 7 USC 326a., 48 USA 1469a. and any other such legislation now addressing Land Grant Status as conferred to the College of Micronesia.

Your continued help in achieving these goals to further our self-determination is greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

/s/ Yoichi Rengiil

Chair

Christopher Loeak
Vice Chair

Bermin Weilbacher
Secretary/Treasurer

S.210. We are grateful for the support of Senators Murkowski and Akaka and the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources for the inclusion of Section 3 Territorial Land Grant Colleges in S.210. The colleges were supportive of the measure in its original form. However, there is a provision in the final form that is of great concern.

Section 3(c) of S.210 includes the following provision: "The proportion of any allocation of funds to the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands under any Act in accordance with section 1361 (c) of Public Law 96-374 prior to the enactment of the Act shall hereafter remain the same with the amount of such funds divided as may be agreed among the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau.”

This provision would put each of the three colleges at a clear disadvantage compared to similar size land-grant colleges in the region, such as Northern Marianas College and American Samoa Community College, as it would require the Micronesian colleges to provide full land-grant services and programs with only one-third of the funding.

Each of the Micronesian colleges aspires to assume responsibility for all extension and research functions in the areas of agriculture and mariculture for their respective governments. Full implementation of the land-grant programs would build the capacity of each of the colleges to provide these services.

The provision of full land-grant status to each college promises to have a significant impact on
the overall quality of life for citizens of the Republic of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall
Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia through the provision of programs such as:
Food Safety and Quality; Communities in Economic Transition; Sustainable Agriculture; Waste
Management; Water Quality; Youth At Risk; Plight of Young Children; Decisions for Health;
Agriculture; Community and Resource Development; Family Development and Resource
Management; 4-H and Youth; Leadership and Volunteer Development; Natural Resources and
Environmental Management; and Nutrition, Diet, and Health.

Section 3(c) of S.210 would severely limit the capability of the Micronesian colleges to deliver these programs.

The COM Board of Regents shares the presidents' concerns regarding Section 3(c). College of Micronesia Board of Regents Resolution 97-1, included in full text below, states the Board's position on this issue.

RESOLUTION 97-1

WHEREAS, the College of Micronesia (COM) Board of Regents has expressed its support for legislation in the Congress of the United States which would recognize the creation of three Land Grant Colleges in each of the three Freely Associated States within Micronesia which have evolved from the original College of Micronesia following many years of diligent effort by the peoples of the three Freely Associated States and the United States, and;

WHEREAS, those three Colleges are now operating as the College of the Marshall Islands, the College of Micronesia-FSM, and the Palau Community College, and;

WHEREAS, Senate Bil S.210 as introduced in the U.S. Senate in January of 1997 provided for amending Section 506 (a) of the Education Amendments of 1972 (P.L. 92-318, as amended; 7 U.S.C. 301 note) so as to strike "the College of Micronesia", and insert the names of the three Colleges, and also provided for amending Section 1361 (c) of the Education Amendments of 1980 (P.L. %-374, as amended; 7 U.S.C. 301 note) so as to strike "the Trust Territory of the Pacifica and insert the names of the three Freely Associate States, and;

WHEREAS, Senate Bill S.210 as introduced was fully supported by the COM Board of Regents, while noting the Palau Government's disagreement with dividing the endowment fund, and;

WHEREAS, Senate Bill S.210 has been amended from its original form to incorporate additional language us proposed by Director Allen P. Stayman of the Office of Insular Affairs, Department of Interior, so that the BW now provides that “The proportion of any allocation of funds to the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands under any Act in accordance with section 1361 (c) of Public Law 96-374 prior to the enactments of this Act shall hereafter remain the same with the amount of such funds divided as may be agreed among the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau," and;

WHEREAS, the amendment to the original version of Section 3 of Senate Bil S.210 violates the spirit of Section 105 (1M) of Public Law 99-239 inasmuch as the three Micronesian Land Grant Colleges as the successor to the College of Micronesia System are not being accorded "...all benefits

and programs available to such land grant institutions”, and;

WHEREAS, the amendment to the original version of Senate Bill S.210 as set forth above would cause financial hardship on the new land-grant colleges in Micronesia by reason that each college will be required by law to act and do things required of the other 56 land-grant colleges but limited to only one-third of the amount of funds normally provided to land-grant institutions;

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the College of Micronesia (COM) Board of Regents does not support Senate Bill S.210 in its present form, and strongly urges deletion of any language which would require that the allocation of funds under any Act in accordance with section 1361 (c) of P.L. 96-374 "remain the same."

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that unless such language is deleted from Senate Bill S.210, the College of Micronesia (COM) Board of Regents requests that Section 3 of Senate Bill S.210 be deleted in its entirety and that no action be taken at this time by the U.S. Senate towards the Land Grant Status of the Micronesian colleges.

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that no changes be made to the present law which would affect the distribution or apportionment of land grant funds in Micronesia unless and until there has been consultation with all the governments of the Freely Associated States and their respective colleges.

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this BOR resolution shall be transmitted to the Presidents of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau.

/Certification of unanimous vote followed./

We, the presidents of the three Micronesian colleges, are in full support of COM Board Resolution 97-1 and solicit your favorable consideration to amending S.210 through the deletion of Section 3(c). If such amendment is not deemed possible at this time, then we respectfully request that Section 3 be deleted from S.210 in its entirety.

Mr. Chairman,

Once again we thank you and the Committee Members for taking time to consider our concerns. We appreciate the support that the U.S. Congress has provided the Micronesian colleges over the years and pledge to continue to implement programs supported by Congress with integrity and excellence.

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