The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights is investigating complaints from Latino students about unfair treatment at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, the News & Record newspaper said Thursday.

Nine current and former students say that A&T's admissions department demands that Latinos present their immigration documentation and register at the international students office, even if they are U.S. citizens.

The complaint alleges that university employees asked several U.S.-born students if they were legal residents.

The plaintiffs are also seeking the reinstatement of Maria Palmer as director of A&T's Multicultural Student Center.

Palmer, a former member of the State Board of Education, headed the center from 2006 until she was fired in 2011 for allegedly helping Native American students form an engineering club.

A&T, a historically black school where Hispanics make up around 1.6 percent of undergraduates, called the allegations groundless.

"We want all students on this campus, regardless of their race, ethnic heritage, or other characteristics to feel truly welcomed at A&T," Melody Pierce, the university's vice chancellor for student affairs, said in a statement.

"Fostering a more diverse and inclusive campus community and promoting cultural awareness is an important part of the university's preeminent strategic plan," she said. EFE