Maryland Native Makes History as First Black Student Body President at Yale

A Black student will be heading Yale University's student council for the first time in its hundreds-old history. He's an incoming junior from Maryland who ran unopposed and hopes to create "a more diverse and inclusive campus."

 

For the first time in over four decades, a Black student will be heading the student body of Yale University. 

Kahlil Greene, an incoming junior from Maryland was elected Student Council President, marking a historical milestone for the university. Since the Ivy League’s establishment 318 years ago, it is the first time a Black student was chosen to lead its student body.

“I think that we can be a more diverse and inclusive campus, and I’m grateful for the role I’ll have in making it happen.” 

MAKING BLACK STUDENT HISTORY

Greene spoke to Washington DC’s Fox 5 about his historic victory. He’ll be filling in the position elusive to the Black community since the Yale College Council was established in 1972. 

“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.”

"...if you work hard and you dream big, it can and will happen.”

HIS ASPIRATIONS FOR YALE

Green ran unopposed earning 1,100 votes or 89.72% of the total though only 22% of the student population voted. His four-point campaign hedged on the fostering of a safer and healthier campus, interactions with the community of New Haven, the improvement of the school’s academics and facilities as well as the enhancement of the student council. 

Only 7% of the university’s population is Black with incidents of racism reported in the past. 

A major in economics and politics who served in the council in the past, Greene hopes to make a difference during his term as president. 

“I think that we can be a more diverse and inclusive campus, and I’m grateful for the role I’ll have in making it happen.” 

HIS ADVICE TO HIS FELLOW DREAMERS

As for his advice for those inspired by what he’s accomplished so far, the 19-year-old says it’s all a matter of dreaming big.

“You don’t necessarily grow up thinking you’re going to be the first person to do anything in this world, but if you work hard and you dream big, it can and will happen.”

A BIG LEAP FOR YALE

Greene’s entry into the council is a big leap for Yale whose students are predominantly White. According to the Philadelphia Tribune, only 7% of the university’s population is Black with incidents of racism reported in the past. 

In May 2018, the police were called on a black student who fell asleep in her dorm’s common area. This sparked a controversy that ushered in the hashtag #SleepingWhileBlack.  

With Greene’s breakthrough win, it is his hope that incidences like this will no longer be a problem.

“We are looking forward,” he says. “A lot of students have been in the role where they brought attention to incidents. I’m in an important position because it is my job and duty to bring a voice to issues and implement solutions.”