For the first time in Yale University’s 318-year history, a Black student will be at the helm of its student body. According to The Hill, Maryland native Kahlil Greene was selected to serve as president of the Yale College Council.
The college junior, who majors in economics and politics, was elected by his fellow classmates in May. He has a passion for civic engagement and one day hopes to pursue a career in politics. In his role as student body president, he wants to build a stronger sense of inclusivity at Yale and plans on addressing issues faced by students of color and underrepresented groups on campus. “I wanted to kind of amplify the voices of the underserved communities on campus, especially students of color. So, being the first black president, I feel like I’m in a position where I can really do that,” he said in a statement. Although Greene believes that Yale has a long way to go in regard to increasing diversity on campus, he says that his appointment is a step in the right direction.
There is more racial representation needed at Yale. According to the Philadelphia Tribune, only 7 percent of the Ivy League institution’s student population is Black. There have been several racist incidents that have taken place at the Connecticut-based university. In May 2018, a Black graduate student was reported to the police for taking a nap in her dorm’s common area; sparking outrage and giving birth to the #SleepingWhileBlack hashtag.
Despite being underrepresented at several Ivy League schools, Black students are rising up the ranks and taking on leadership roles. In November 2018 the Harvard Crimson—the country’s oldest college newspaper—appointed Kristine E. Guillaume to be it’s president, making her the first Black woman to take on the position.