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Woman Drops Lawsuit Against Aquinas College

August 23, 1997|NICK GREEN

SANTA PAULA — A lack of money has prompted a former Thomas Aquinas College student, expelled for refusing to stop staying overnight at her fiance's home, to drop her lawsuit against the private Catholic college.

However, 23-year-old Aliya Peerzada of Ojai said she hopes to refile before a December deadline.

"If I can possibly help it, this is not the end of it," she said. "It's a shame I can't stick up for what's right without so much money."

Peerzada's case drew international attention when The Times published a story about her situation last month.

She was kicked out of the college, located in the hills between Santa Paula and Fillmore, last December after administrators learned that she had spent nights at her fiance's Ojai home. Officials asked her not to spend the upcoming Christmas vacation there. Peerzada refused the request and school officials, who require students to live on campus and adhere to a strict moral code, expelled her.

Peerzada's Ventura attorney, Andrew Koenig, said he was dismayed that the cost of litigation was prohibitive for his client. College officials had declined to settle the suit, Koenig said.

"Instead of informally resolving it, I think they wanted to make a point," Koenig said. "I was personally looking forward to litigating this case, because I thought it had some very interesting issues."

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