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Harvard Student Body Elects First Black President

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Mississippian Noah Harris made history as the first Black man to be elected Student Body President of Harvard University, the institute’s Undergraduate Council (UC) Election Commission announced.

Harris, a 2018 graduate of Oak Grove High School, has previously served as the council’s treasurer and co-chair of the Black Caucus. He will take office on December 6 and will serve a year-long term as head of the council. 

Speaking of the responsibility entrusted to him, Harris said, “I definitely don’t take it lightly,” adding, “This is a major statement by the Harvard student body to entrust a Black man with such an unprecedented moment in its history.” 

The Road Ahead

The UC body is an undergraduate academic unit of Harvard that helps to administer student services at the university. It also works as an advocacy group for student affairs.

As president, Harris will shoulder two major responsibilities. First, guiding the council in disbursing revenue from the student activity fee — a $200 fee levied on every undergraduate. Those revenues fund the student government’s numerous initiatives along with funding over 400 other student organizations. The second function is voicing students’ concerns to the administration.

“So, for instance, when the pandemic started, we had to figure out what the new grade policies were going to be,” Harris said. “We were switching from in-person classes to virtual, and all of the grading got messed up. We helped switch it to everyone having a pass or fail grade because so many people were unprepared for the switch to online-only classes.”

In addition to his role as a student body worker, Harris is also a published author. His 2019 children’s book, Successville, has been incorporated into primary school curricula.

Harris will graduate from Harvard in 2022. Thereafter, he plans to attend law school and pursue his dream of becoming an attorney.

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