Diversity in higher education has always been a social issue within the United States when it comes to who gets access to the country’s most elite schools. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is considered one of the most elite schools in the country and around the world. This week it made history by electing its first black student body president.
Danielle Geathers is a college sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering but she’s already making school history after her recent win in the school elections for student body president. Geathers’ win makes her the first black woman to lead the undergraduate association. Her running mate, Yu Jing Chen, represent a population in the school that often goes overlooked.
“Someone asked if the UA president was a figurehead role [during the debate]. I think no, but minimally, a black female in that role will squash every perception that MIT is still mostly white and male,” Geathers told the school’s paper, The Tech, according to Because We Can. “Minimally, the immediate image of that will make MIT a more welcoming and inclusive place.”
According to The Tech, 38.5% of the undergraduate population voted in the election compared to just 14.4% in last year’s election and 18.3% in the 2018 election.
On their website, Geathers and Chen state that their mission gives a platform and voice to minorities within the student body. “Our leadership increased accessibility to student resources on campus and levied student concerns to administration, ranging from the Burton Conner transition to the search for the new Institute Community and Equity Officer,” they wrote in a statement.
“Our impact spans from creating MIT’s first and only black women recruiting initiative to pioneering MIT representation at America’s largest Asian American student advocacy conference.”
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We are beyond excited to be elected as your next Undergraduate Association President and Vice President! A major thank you to all of you who supported us every step of the way of this journey. We could not have gotten this far without the communities that rallied behind us. Thank you for believing in us. We are incredibly grateful and cannot wait for what is to come. @fionayara2020 there are no words to capture how much you have inspired us and together, we achieved the highest voter turnout in recent MIT history (38.5%!!!), we are excited for the future of MIT!