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A weekly inside look at the unique faces and personalities that make up The College of Wooster community.

Monét Davis ’19 is a sociology major, Public Relations Officer for the Black Students Association, Chair of Outreach and Diversity and member of Alpha Gamma Phi. Monét was recently elected the first black female president of SGA.

Interview by Robyn Newcomb ’20, a Features Editor for the Voice (Photo courtesy Monét Davis).

Sally Kershner
Features Editor

What are your thoughts on being the first black female president of Student Government Association?

I remember my first year when Spencer Gilbert ’17 was elected as the first black president. It was super exciting, but it was also like, ‘Wait, what?’ It’s the same now; just the fact that it’s 2018 and this is the first time in Wooster history. So, I’m really honored, but it’s also really crazy to think about because, like, I have to remind myself that I’m at a PWI [predominantly white institution].

How would you like to see the culture of Wooster change?

It already is changing in a way that I like, but I really want students to get more engaged. I think we have a really amazing community, but I think a problem with a lot of liberals — I think this is a pretty ‘liberal’ or like ‘Democrat’ campus — is that people are like, ‘This is bad; this is good,’ and then you stop there. I would really like to see the student body come to more cultural events [and] get more involved, whether it’s with student government or other student organizations.

I just hope that Wooster students hold ourselves accountable, too, because we can’t just be like ‘Oh yeah, I know intersectionality; I’m pretty proud of myself.’ Even I thought, like, ‘You know, I’m pretty woke; I got this,’ but then I’ve taken more classes and I’m like ‘Oh. What?’ [Laughs.] And that’s like, me every day. So, just reminding ourselves that yes, you’re here to get a degree, but also take advantage of being at this institution because we do have so many amazing resources available that can allow you to expand your knowledge.

Do you think students can make concrete change at Wooster? To what extent?

I do think students have the ability — not to be cheesy, but you really have the ability to do anything if you set your mind to it. Granted, there are structural barriers put up to make this change process a lot slower, but you can look at the student history at Wooster and see how much change students have already brought. It’s definitely hard, because at the end of the day this is an institution that thrives off of money — not saying it’s an awful institution; that’s just how universities are; they’re like businesses in a way — so maybe there is an extent to which we can create change. But then you’re like, okay, maybe students can’t change this… so you contact Board of Trustees. You contact alumni. You contact news sources. You know?

I think it’s just the drive we have. I know students are upset about a lot of things on this campus, but I just don’t want students to lose hope.

So, you’re known for being the person who knows everyone on campus. What do you think is the value of personal relationships in a place like Wooster?

I’ve just learned so much from everyone that I’ve met — whether it’s that we talked for five minutes, or we’re close friends, or I lived with you in my first-year dorm and we both had an 8 a.m., so we brushed our teeth together. College is about so much more than textbooks and tests, you know? I want to get to know a wide range of individuals because we all have such different experiences, and you can only get to better understand these experiences by getting to know other people.

There’s so many great personalities on campus, and I feel like for people who just stick in their one social group — I just can’t imagine that. There are so many great people in this world that you can learn so much from. Granted, I don’t know everyone’s birthday; I don’t know their major, but we have a relationship and I can tell you something about them. And I can also teach them certain things about me and my experience as a black woman on campus.

What part of your Wooster experience has impacted you the most?

One was my first year, when Living Wage did a silent protest at the Board of Trustees (BoT) meeting, where students lined up along the walls leading towards the Governance Room, protesting that The College of Wooster employees deserve a livable wage. I just thought it was so impactful because they allowed the students in, and they let the presidents of Living Wage speak on behalf of the group, and it showed that students really care about this.

Another would be when the Black Students Association did a similar protest, and that was saying, you know, that black faculty matter. I was at that BoT meeting as an at-large senator, for BSA, so I remember hearing that Trustee say, ‘Would you rather have a black professor, or a good professor?’ I like to be oblivious to things sometimes or not fully admit it, because it gets sad, right, but when I heard that woman, who has so much money and so much power in this institution, and who I believe was a graduate of the College, say something like that — that was just so disheartening. So, seeing how many students came to that demonstration so early in the morning, that was really impactful, too. Going back to your other question, like, students just can create change. Yes, there’s still so much change that needs to happen, but you saw what came about after both of those protests — those were such great steps.

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