WILLEMSTAD — St. Martinus University could not count on much sympathy from the judge yesterday afternoon. Twelve students instituted proceedings yesterday afternoon against the university and may count on winning their case.
The official verdict will be ready tomorrow, but the judge already announced that the St. Martinus University (SMU) would have to accede with all the students’ requests.
With the exception of attending colleges even though, the students indeed have that right, ‘as such was superseded by the facts’, judge Joost Veerman concluded at the end of the session. The obtained points should be made available immediately, as well as the official transcripts, which the physicians under training require in order to approach another university to complete their study.
Seven students stated yesterday that they had obtained their bachelor’s degree, at least complied with the requirements. "Their degree should be granted under the condition that they actually qualify for such."
The students which still have to take exams on the last semester, should be given this opportunity coming Monday, and "the results should be made available during the morning of August 27th so that the students can register with another university that same day". That date was put forward as the ultimate registration date. There are medical trainings on many of the islands in the region. Most of the students prefer Aruba or St. Kitts.
Arend de Winter, the attorney-at-law of St. Martinus University forwarded in his defense, as outlined in a letter to the students’ lawyer, that he required more time to formalize and issue the study results. The present teacher and dean Clinical Sciences Harold Schiff contradicted this and stated that the issuance of the study results is a matter of maximum two or three days.
The problem is that the administration as well as the teachers have not received any salary since months and are therefore less willing to cooperate.
Discussions with John Daryanani – who manages the training – have not led to anything more than that ‘a (financial) solution is near at hand’. The lawyer repeated that SMU is doing its utmost in the interest of the students. The judge even suggested an arrangement, but there was no one present on behalf of the university except for the lawyer. "They will now pay for it", the judge determined.
Judge Veerman recognized the dependency of the cooperation of the staff: "I can only state in this matter that I hope the teachers will comply with the verdict." If they do not, then this is primarily a responsibility of the St. Martinus University. For that matter, in that connection the SMU can count on a considerable penalty in tomorrow’s verdict.
It seems that the St. Martinus University is facing an insecure future. As of the beginning of the training until the closing down, the university barely succeeded in attracting less than 100 students, and this appeared insufficient to survive. After all, in addition to the administration, the institute also required ten to twelve teachers for the various courses.
SMU has encountered financial problems from the start. In April last year, it seemed that a new shareholder, Maple Leaf Fund of Henry Chau, would be the solution, but committee-chairman and director Chau left at the end of April this year and blamed Daryanani that he wanted absolute control of the training. According to Daryanani’s lawyer Arend de Winter, Chau did a moonlight flit and Daryanani has been busy with ‘making the most of a hopeless situation’ ever since. Apart from having the electricity and water reconnected, nothing else happened after 3½ months.
Formally, twelve students instituted the proceedings against the St. Martinus University yesterday. Those twelve students represent all study years. Another twenty or so victims attended the session from the gallery. The verdict does not automatically apply for the latter. The judge stated that only the requests of the formal claimants would be granted. The students and their lawyer Paul van de Laarschot are counting on SMU now to deal with the matters correctly for all students.
The students are from all quarters of the world – from the United States, Canada, Europe, Africa, and India. "Valuable assets", is what their lawyer says the supposed reason is that Daryanani is slow with the handing over of the results. "Forcing forty students to follow a new semester immediately yields 320,000 dollars on tuition and fees."