A Wave of Predominantly White Institutions – Including Brown, Harvard, MIT, and UCLA – Elected Black Student Presidents This Year Amid COVID-19, Racial Injustice Crises.

Updated Feb 18, 2021

This academic year, students at predominantly White institutions elected a wave of Black student body presidents. This cohort now finds itself leading in unprecedented times, amid a pandemic and a national reckoning with racism. How are they supporting each other through it? What are they hoping to accomplish this term? What adjustments are they making in response to the ongoing pandemic?

In this episode, Diverse’s Sara Weissman talks with junior Danielle Geathers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), junior Noah Harris at Harvard University, senior Jason Carroll at Brown University, and senior Naomi Riley at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) about how they, as student body presidents, are responding to the national crises at the moment.

Find out what these student body presidents are currently fighting for on their campuses, from reparations to campus policing to the allocation of student resources. Tune in as they share the pressures and struggles of being student body president, as well as their hopes for the many more Black student body presidents to come in the future.

 

KEY POINTS / MAIN TAKEAWAYS:

  • The challenges of being student body president amid a pandemic.
  • Planning adjustments for students in response to COVID-19.
  • The responsibilities that are borne as a Black student body president.
  • Creating an online community and virtual support.
  • What they hope for the next generation of Black student body presidents.

QUOTABLES:

“For myself, and a lot of students just like me, it was very difficult to both handle all these personal things, while also then trying to advocate and make a change and work within these massive institutions.”

“What we have to do now, in my opinion, is always continue to think about creating relationships. Social distancing does not mean social isolation. And so we have to now think very critically and innovatively in terms of how, by using the online and the virtual environment, to create a community for those most vulnerable populations.”

“I’m of the belief that there are spaces that police officers should not be in. We can take this example of a mental health situation. One thing that we’re currently advocating for right now is for police officers to not be the first responders to mental crises. So in working with our psychological services, we want to make sure that it is a trained mental health professional who arrives at the scene”

PRODUCTS / RESOURCES MENTIONED:

A Wave of Black Student Body Presidents Enter Office Amid COVID-19, Racial Injustice Crises https://diverseeducation.com/article/108309/

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