Coming from a working-class background and being the first in his family to attend a university, Ismael Ahmed pledges to keep the University accessible to working-class children if he wins one of two positions on the University Board of Regents in the Nov. 5 election.

Paul Wong
Ahmad

Ahmed (D-Dearborn) has a long history of reaching out to local communities and low-income families. He is a founder of the Arab Community Center for Education and Social Services in Dearborn and has served as the organization’s director for 25 years.

He has also worked on projects with inner-city groups through the School of Social Work, organized tutoring programs at the University of Michigan at Dearborn and helped create a Middle Eastern outreach program at the University of Michigan at Flint.

Ahmed’s experience working with minorities and the working class has helped him realize that the University must reach out to local communities, he said. His ideas include forming tutoring programs, conducting research projects for and with local communities and providing a system of rewards for University students and faculty who engage in such programs.

“There is tremendous importance in getting communities and universities to work better,” he said. “I’d like to most see greater engagement on the part of universities and community organizations across the state.”

Although tutoring can provide children with role models and help them realize the importance of a college education, Ahmed also emphasizes the need to control the cost of higher education – after all, he says, his son will graduate from college $100,000 in debt, a situation he says is becoming increasingly more common.

“Working people make tremendous sacrifices for their children to go to school,” he said. “Having gone from a family where no one had gone to a university to a family where everyone has gone to a university, I see the importance of universities continuing to be accessible to working-class people.”

Ahmed said if the University can lessen the financial burden, it is responsible to do so. In addition to being “a very strong supporter of affirmative action,” he said providing an equal opportunity for rich and working-class children to attend the University is just as important as ensuring racial diversity.

As the director of Access, an organization that provides Arab Americans with a variety of legal and educational resources and works on a budget of several million dollars, Ahmed says he has the financial experience required to contain tuition costs and to avoid sharp increases, which he calls “not acceptable.”

“There are savings that the University can make,” he said. “I also believe that we have to more clearly assure government assistance for programming.”

and with local communities and providing a system of rewards for University students and faculty who engage in such programs.

“There is tremendous importance in getting communities and universities to work better,” he said.

“I’d like to most see greater engagement on the part of universities and community organizations across the state.”

Although tutoring can provide children with role models and help them realize the importance of a college education, Ahmed also emphasizes the need to control the cost of higher education – after all, he says, his son will graduate from college $100,000 in debt, a situation he says is becoming increasingly more common.

“Working people make tremendous sacrifices for their children to go to school,” Ahmed said.

“Having gone from a family where no one had gone to a university to a family where everyone has gone to a university, I see the importance of universities continuing to be accessible to working-class people.”

Ahmed said if the University can lessen the financial burden, it is responsible to do so. In addition to being “a very strong supporter of affirmative action,” he said providing an equal opportunity for rich and working-class children to attend the University is just as important as ensuring racial diversity.

As the director of Access, an organization that provides Arab Americans with a variety of legal and educational resources and works on a budget of several million dollars, Ahmed says he has the financial experience required to contain tuition costs and to avoid sharp increases, which he calls “not acceptable.”

“There are savings that the University can make,” he said. “I also believe that we have to more clearly assure government assistance for programming.”

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