News

College of the Redwoods Iranian student suing school

By Morgan Brizee

Amir Maleki, a 21-year-old College of the Redwoods student, is suing the school after he was unable to join his classes late in the semester. Maleki was unable to join his classes because some of the deans from CR refusing to sign off to allow late entry. Maleki said the deans felt “unforfortable” allowing him into classes late. Maleki, who is from Iran, felt that they were racially profiling him since two deans were okay with it while the other two were not.

Maleki said he decided to wait for his brother, Mohammad, to get his visa renewed in Dubai before coming back to Humboldt together. Maleki was able to get back before Trump’s immigration ban, a week after classes started at College of the Redwoods.

“I got back to Arcata and was going around speaking to the professors, sending out emails, and calling up a few of the professors,” Maleki said.

After trying to get signatures to be allowed into the classes, Maleki found out that two of the six classes he had signed up for were overcrowded, while four classes were still open with teachers willing to allow him in.

“I was supposed to get four classes which means 13 or 14 credit hours and two of the deans refused to sign the papers,” Maleki said.

The deans overrode the teacher’s decisions for two of the classes and decided to not let Maleki to join the classes. He is now short of the 12 units he needed.

“That’s considered a violation against the Homeland Security law,” Maleki said. “In order for an international student to remain in the United States they must have at least 12 credit hours.”

Maleki learned that because he was unable to join enough classes, and in turn violated the Homeland Security law, he would not be able to go to the classes he did get into. He decided that suing the school was his only hope for staying in the country.

“They[the lawyers] said they could make a racial profile case out of it,” Maleki said.  Maleki said that since the deans’ only reason for not allowing him to join classes was that they were uncomfortable, it can be seen as a decision based off personal reasons.

If Maleki doesn’t end up winning the case he would be faced with going back to Iran. Once he is in Iran he would be forced to join the Iranian military for at least two years.

“In case I have to go back to Iran I would not be able to leave the country unless I join the army and serve in the army,” Maleki said.

Megan Mefford, coordinator of International Admission & Immigration at Humboldt State, has helped both Maleki and his brother Mohammad this semester. Mohammad had issues coming back from Iran after Trump’s immigration ban.

“When Amir came to see me, he shared with me that he found instructors that approved of his late add, but someone higher on the chain refused to sign,” Mefford said. “It’s a tough situation for everyone – but especially Amir.”

Mefford was unable to do much to help Maleki because he didn’t reach out to her until after the situation.

“Unfortunately, Amir did not seek my council until CR had already taken severe action on his academic and immigration status,” Mefford said. “Had he come to me earlier I may have been able to make some phone calls to mentor the CR staff advising him.”

Mefford advised Maleki to find legal help and explained what College of the Redwoods actions meant for him.

Dave Bazard, Interim Dean of Academic Affairs at College of the Redwoods, signed to allow Maleki to join classes late.

“I signed paperwork to allow him to register late for courses, and I was glad to be able to help him given the circumstances he described,” Bazard said.

Maleki has reached out to numerous lawyers to help in his situation. He said that even if he does win the case and is able to stay, he doesn’t know if he will stay very long.

“You don’t want to be living in a place where you’re not respected for who you are,” Maleki said.

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