KOKOMO, Ind. — As a Muslim woman who wears a hijab, Maria Ahmad understands discrimination.
Tuesday (March 15), Ahmad, who is Indiana University Kokomo’s coordinator of student life and campus diversity, shared her experience, speaking at a civil rights rally at the Indiana State House.
“No one should feel they are not allowed somewhere, or be denied a service because of who they are,” she said.
Ahmad participated in the rally, with more than 150 people attending the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Student Affairs Professionals in Higher Education national convention in Indianapolis.
Sarah Sarber, dean of students, was proud Ahmad was chosen to be one of the three speakers.
“Maria has worked very hard to bring the issues of diversity, social justice, immigration, and human rights to the forefront for our students and our campus,” she said. “It is wonderful that she is recognized by our professional organization as a leader on those issues. She was able to share the importance of the role we in student affairs must play as students grapple with these important issues, ideas, and beliefs.”
Ahmad talked about IU Kokomo’s efforts to lead diversity education, preparing students to live and work with people different from themselves. As student affairs professionals, they must create space for discussion and dialogue, and help students understand the impact they have on others.
“We have to emphasize that everyone at the table needs to show respect, and what that looks like,” Ahmad said.
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.