University of Saint Katherine (san Marcos, CA) students plan to move out after school’s abrupt closure

Thursday was an otherwise quiet morning at University of Saint Katherine’s student housing. That is, besides the sounds of moving trucks as students packed their belongings. On a normal day, students would be out enjoying the pool, gym and other amenities. But this day, finding somewhere else to live was the priority.

Bailey Combs, a USK beach volleyball player, just enrolled this semester. She had no idea it would also be her last semester, and she’s not happy about it.

“It costs me so much money to get out her,” Combs said. “It cost me a lot of commitment, and I really put my trust into the university to help me finish my master’s. And the fact that they kind of just pulled that right out from under me is really sad.”

Bailey Combs, a junior at The University of Saint Katherine, was playing in a national volleyball championship in Tennessee when she found out her school would close before she got back.
Combs was playing in a national volleyball championship in Tennessee when she found out her school would close before she got back. Her coach, Lauren DeTurk, was devastated.

“I just was kind of crying or like kind of gasping a little bit,” DeTurk said. “I couldn’t really catch my breath.”

The school closed last Thursday and staff pay cut off when the team still had two days left in the tournament. DeTurk says she worked for free.

“It definitely seems not legal,” DeTurk said. “I have thought so many times, like, ‘How is this possible? How is this allowed?’ You know, ‘How could someone do this?’”

Since 2020, employees sued the university at least five times for breach of contract/employment. The latest settlement was in November.

Students and staff confused after the University of Saint Katherine closes abruptly
Hundreds of students at the University of Katherine in San Marcos are trying to figure out what to do next after their school closed without notice. NBC 7’s Shandel Menezes has the details.
Combs knows there won’t be any final exams. The grades everyone has is in their classes now is how they’ll stay.

There will still be a graduation, but Frank Papatheofanis, the university president, and his board said they will not be attending.

“They said that they would not like to be there,” Combs remembered the announcement from a sports banquet Wednesday night. “And I just found it a little bit shocking that they didn’t even want to do that for us. And if you wanted to defend your name and, you know, say this wasn’t meant to happen, then you could at least support us through the end of it.”

NBC 7 asked Papatheofanis why he won’t be at graduation. He has yet to respond.

In a previous statement to NBC 7, Papatheofanis said the following:

“We were forced to terminate employees because we didn’t have sufficient funds available to pay them. We had recent unexpected expenses that depleted our reserves. Asking them to continue work activities knowing we did not have those resources is fraud.”

He later clarified the “unexpected expenses” were the athletics programs being significantly over budget.

USK opened 13 years ago. At least 95% of students are athletes.

With about two weeks until graduation, they scramble to find somewhere to transfer for the fall. Michael Ramos will be picking up the slack for his GF until things settle down.

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