OAKLAND -- The room where the killing began shows no signs of violence. The bloodstains have been carpeted over, and plaster covers the bullet holes.
But Oikos University students and employees know that the otherwise barren classroom, its desks lined up neatly under fluorescent lights, is where the shooting started on April 2. If the school survives -- no sure thing -- the room probably will not be used for classes again.
"It's very hard for me to stay in here," said Jaehoon Moon, chief operating officer at the 130-student school, looking around uneasily. He would like to hang pictures of the seven victims on the walls and create a memorial shrine.
The abandoned classroom is just one of the loose ends for Oikos, a nonprofit, unaccredited school near Oakland International Airport that was largely unknown before the shootings. A former nursing student, One Goh, has been charged with gunning down six former classmates and a receptionist that day.
The school's financial problems are so pressing that its president, Jongin Kim, has gone without pay for a year. And although Oikos is trying to attain its first accreditation through a national association of Christian schools, that accomplishment is at least a year away, if it happens at all.
Without accreditation, and with the killings inextricably tied to Oikos, the school will be a tough sell to Korean nationals, who make up at least three-quarters of the student body. The Korean government has warned its citizens to avoid unaccredited schools such as Oikos.
"Koreans are obsessed with the name and reputation of an institution," said Clark Sorensen, a University of Washington professor of Korean studies. "Presumably, Koreans are wringing their hands about the reputation.
"You're not going to go to a place like Oikos if you have other options."
California regulators have warned Oikos that too few of its nursing graduates -- 41 percent last year, among the lowest in the state -- pass licensing exams.
The school had hired a Cal State East Bay nursing instructor to help lift Oikos above state scrutiny, but then about half the school's next graduating nurses died in the shooting rampage.
"The class that was affected by this tragedy was our best class," Moon said. "We were counting on them to raise our passing rate as high as 90 percent."
The two nursing instructors who witnessed the killings have not returned, Kim said, but others have pulled together to help Oikos recover. Students helped clean up the crime scene, and Virginia Tech -- where 32 people were shot to death five years ago -- offered advice on how to get past the tragedy.
Oikos leaders say they are committed to the school, but its future is unclear. The college could give up the more expensive nursing classes in favor of its theology, music and Asian medicine courses, for example.
Kim sees the school's survival as honoring the dead.
"We want to remember these victims as long as possible," Kim, a former Korean military officer, said through a translator. After 20 years in the United States, he speaks little English. "In order to do that, the school has to grow and remain."
"No matter what, we are going to try to survive," he said, surrounded by dozens of white binders filled with accreditation materials. "So many people have sacrificed their time."
Kim called Oikos his family and said he visits the homes of students who don't show up for class. Oikos graduates are so happy with their education that the school does not need to advertise in Korea because word-of-mouth attracts new students, Kim said.
But some have criticized Kim for using a linguistic sleight of hand to recruit Koreans.
The title he uses, "chongjang," would be more fitting of the president of a large university rather than the leader of a tiny vocational school, said two Korean speakers not affiliated with Oikos.
The title also would describe the secretary-general of the United Nations, said Sorensen, the University of Washington professor. A more appropriate title, he said, would be "hakchang," a more modest word used for a president of a liberal-arts college or a dean in a larger university.
Several Oikos students declined to comment on the school. The students, especially those in the classroom when the shooting started, have been mostly silent since the tragedy.
Other classes have resumed at the rented Oikos campus, but nursing students spent their first week back at Chabot College in Hayward. They plan to move to Unitek College in Fremont on Monday.
Moon said he could easily double his salary elsewhere, but Kim's refusal to cash his own paychecks prompted him to stay a while longer. He vowed to work as hard as possible to keep the school alive.
"It's not easy to find a leader who will sacrifice himself," Moon said. "Until we are forced to close, we will do everything possible."
Matt Krupnick covers higher education. Contact him at 510-208-6488. Follow him at Twitter.com/MattKrupnick.