Tariq Bashir earned his degree in front of loved ones this year. But not the way that many people expect.
Due to Bashir’s disability, he was denied his moment to accept his college diploma on stage like the rest of the students.
Tariq Bashir had waited a long time for his moment on stage, accepting his college diploma. But Saturday night at CNM’s graduation ceremony, Bashir said his family and friends never saw that moment. “They didn’t hear my name being called. They didn’t see me getting my degree in hand. They just saw me rolling back to my sitting position,” Bashir said.
Bashir said he wasn’t allowed to go up the ramp to get on stage and accept his diploma. It was something he found out two weeks ago. He said the activities supervisor told him he wouldn’t be able to go up the ramp because of safety concerns.
Bashir took the problem to the dean as well as the disabilities office. Then, he got an email from the administrative technical assistant at CNM, saying, “The decision to not allow wheelchairs onto the stage area stands.”
“I’m not allowed to go up on stage to get my degree. I have got to go to the bottom of the stage and not get that shining moment like everybody else was getting,” Bashir said.
Bashir has been in a wheelchair for 13 years. He was paralyzed after being shot in the back in 2000 when he was accused of murder. He pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, and has worked hard for years to turn his life around.
CNM’s Vice President of Services released the following statement:
“With more than 600 graduates participating in CNM’s Graduation Ceremony, it is a challenge for us to meet the expectations of every graduate at the ceremony. At Saturday’s ceremony, for the first time, CNM debuted two large video screens to improve the visibility for each graduate’s family and supporters. We regret that Mr. Bashir was disappointed in the individual accommodations at the ceremony and we will pursue an improved contract with Tingley Coliseum and EXPO New Mexico that includes a stage with better accommodations for those with disabilities.”
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