Yale University student body elects first Muslim president

Bayan Galal makes history as first Muslim student body president at the Ivy League university

Bayan Galal made history by becoming the first Muslim student to be elected Yale University's student body president in its 320-year history. Courtesy: WFSB 
Bayan Galal made history by becoming the first Muslim student to be elected Yale University's student body president in its 320-year history. Courtesy: WFSB 

Yale University, one of the oldest in the Ivy League, elected a Muslim student as president of its student body for the first time.

Bayan Galal, according to Connecticut-based news station WFSB, secured 56 per cent of the student body vote for Yale College Council President, making her the first Muslim in the university's 320-year history to assume the student government presidency.

“As a Muslim woman, I have only been able to accomplish things, so many of the things, that I’ve been able to because of other people who have advocated for me and advocated for people like me," Ms Galal told WFSB.

“My goal was to pay that debt forward to future generations by delivering results for the Yale student body," she said.

Ms Galal is a double major in molecular biology and global affairs, with a minor in global health study.

As part of her campaign for Yale College Council president, she told WFSB that she emphasised a platform of "building a healthier Yale", noting that during the pandemic, other factors play a significant role in keeping students healthy.

"We have five central tenets of health – physical health, mental health, community health, academic health and financial health, and the goal was that as an administration, we would emphasise all five tenets of health by approaching it in a holistic way," she said.

Ms Galal said she is ready to hit the ground running for the Yale student body.

“Without a doubt, I’m ecstatic to take on the role and I’m so excited for this.”

Ms Galal is not alone in her family in terms of breaking barriers in the state of Connecticut.

Her sister Ayah also made history in recent years, becoming the first reporter in Connecticut to wear a hijab on TV in the state.

Updated: May 5, 2021 10:34 AM

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