Maricopa County Community College District responds to discrimination complaint

April 03, 2013

The U.S. Department of Education is monitoring the Maricopa County Community College District for alleged discrimination.  

basha The Maricopa County Community College District office in Tempe. (Photo by Emily Johnson - KJZZ)

A complaint accused the district of requiring citizenship information from some student immigrants who are qualified to stay in the U.S. temporarily.

The Civil Rights Center in Arizona said the district discriminated against “deferred action” students who wanted to enroll in the district’s two charter high schools. 

The group claimed the district discouraged the students from enrolling because it asked for information about their parents’ immigration status.

Maricopa Community Colleges spokesman Tom Gariepy said the district has agreed to take action to address the issue, but he said it’s unclear whether there was actually a violation. 

“If anyone had asked students who are attending charter high school only for documentation status information, they were not following the rules and they were doing so improperly.  I can’t tell you for a fact that that never happened, but it shouldn’t have happened," Gariepy said.

The U.S. Department of Education said in an emailed response to the complaint that some of the allegations made by the civil rights group  are “somewhat erroneous.” 

The community college district also has agreed to provide an interpreter to translate governing board meetings for people who don’t speak English.  

EDITOR'S NOTE: KJZZ is licensed to Rio Salado College, part of the Maricopa Community College District.

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