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BSA Chooses New President

Williamson Will Hold Group's Top Post

By Abby Y. Fung

Voting in a slate of candidates who emphasized a renewed commitment to public service, about 80 students gathered Sunday night in Science Center E to elect new officers for the Black Students Association (BSA).

Jason D. Williamson '98 was elected president and Dionne A. Fraser '99 was picked for the club's vice presidency.

The most contested positions were those of public service chair, secretary and treasurer, according to Fraser. Two or three candidates vied for each post, she said, but the closest race was the one for public service chair. Crystal A. Redd '98 defeated Charisa A. Smith '00 for that position.

"It wasn't that big last year, but with this year, the two candidates had two different visions of what they wanted to do," Fraser said. "Both had ideas on the direction they wanted to go."

The close race signified the club's even larger public service emphasis for next year.

"With the enthusiasm displayed at the election, the public service committee is going to do a lot of good things, things that can get the BSA community involved at all times of the year," said outgoing President Luanda M. Williams '99.

Newly elected secretary Latanya N. James '99 said that many students participate in public-service projects through BSA. But she hopes more will get involved in public service in general.

"Just increasing the amount of people involved in public service on campus is good," said James.

Smith is currently a member of the public service committee. It is the only BSA committee to which she has belonged, and she said she hopes to continue her involvement next year.

"I think most members of the BSA feel a responsibility to the community," said Smith.

To this end, Smith and her fellow community members are organizing "Chill Night" at the Cabot House Grille for next Friday. Admission to the social event will be an article of clothing, and all collected clothing will be donated to a local homeless shelter, she said.

"When the year comes to an end and we clean out our clothes, we find that there's a lot we don't use, so we could give them to people who need them," Smith said. "We work on our academics and sometimes we get a little detached from the problems of the community at large."

The club also plans to expand community outreach in other ways, including putting out more publications and getting the membership more involved, according to next year's officers.

Fraser said the club plans to print three publications next year--the Black Registrar, the BSA Newsletter and an Unofficial Guide to Life at Harvard "geared toward black students." The BSA Newsletter will also be changed to a newspaper format, she said.

The Asian American Association revived its "Handbook to Asian American Life at Harvard" in the fall, which inspired the BSA efforts.

James said that public-service projects and a greater variety of newsletters will help members become more involved. She also suggested participation in planning the club's various conferences to increase members' involvement.

Last spring BSA held its first annual intercollegiate black students' conference, and earlier this semester the club held a conference on the future of affirmative action. Recently, BSA also held a conference on the African diaspora.

Next Saturday, the club will host a hip-hop conference boasting such groups as Digable Planets, Supernatural, Naughty by Nature, Zulu Nation, Souls of Mischief and Mic Geronimo and the rapper Bahamadia, Fraser said.

She also said that Minister Conrad Muhammad, "minister of the mosque in Harlem where Louis Farrakhan and Malcolm X used to preach," will be in attendance.

The Saturday morning portion will include three panel discussions on "rap, reality and social responsibility" and a concert will follow in the evening, Fraser said. The conference will also focus on the connection between hip-hop music, black power and social responsibility, she said.

BSA members take their responsibility to the community seriously, said Fraser. Next year, they will plan a five-day conference in March about "Africa in the 21st century and the black American's responsibility to Africa," she said.

But the organization is not all work and no play.

James said that next year, the officers hope to "increase unity among the black students, to make them feel like they still have family away from home."

The other new BSA officers include: McComma Grayson '00, treasurer; Andwele J. Lewis '98, senior representative; Jason B. Phillips '99, publicity chair; Afrah D. Richmond '98, publications chair; Uche A. Blackstock '99, historian; Lani "Sohani" Holland '99, public-relations chair; Nicole K. Sherwood '00, social and political chair; Mark A. Thompson '98, Harvard Foundation representative, and Peter "Alex" A. Kellogg '99, arts and entertainment chair.

Williamson was out of town yesterday and could not be reached for comment

"When the year comes to an end and we clean out our clothes, we find that there's a lot we don't use, so we could give them to people who need them," Smith said. "We work on our academics and sometimes we get a little detached from the problems of the community at large."

The club also plans to expand community outreach in other ways, including putting out more publications and getting the membership more involved, according to next year's officers.

Fraser said the club plans to print three publications next year--the Black Registrar, the BSA Newsletter and an Unofficial Guide to Life at Harvard "geared toward black students." The BSA Newsletter will also be changed to a newspaper format, she said.

The Asian American Association revived its "Handbook to Asian American Life at Harvard" in the fall, which inspired the BSA efforts.

James said that public-service projects and a greater variety of newsletters will help members become more involved. She also suggested participation in planning the club's various conferences to increase members' involvement.

Last spring BSA held its first annual intercollegiate black students' conference, and earlier this semester the club held a conference on the future of affirmative action. Recently, BSA also held a conference on the African diaspora.

Next Saturday, the club will host a hip-hop conference boasting such groups as Digable Planets, Supernatural, Naughty by Nature, Zulu Nation, Souls of Mischief and Mic Geronimo and the rapper Bahamadia, Fraser said.

She also said that Minister Conrad Muhammad, "minister of the mosque in Harlem where Louis Farrakhan and Malcolm X used to preach," will be in attendance.

The Saturday morning portion will include three panel discussions on "rap, reality and social responsibility" and a concert will follow in the evening, Fraser said. The conference will also focus on the connection between hip-hop music, black power and social responsibility, she said.

BSA members take their responsibility to the community seriously, said Fraser. Next year, they will plan a five-day conference in March about "Africa in the 21st century and the black American's responsibility to Africa," she said.

But the organization is not all work and no play.

James said that next year, the officers hope to "increase unity among the black students, to make them feel like they still have family away from home."

The other new BSA officers include: McComma Grayson '00, treasurer; Andwele J. Lewis '98, senior representative; Jason B. Phillips '99, publicity chair; Afrah D. Richmond '98, publications chair; Uche A. Blackstock '99, historian; Lani "Sohani" Holland '99, public-relations chair; Nicole K. Sherwood '00, social and political chair; Mark A. Thompson '98, Harvard Foundation representative, and Peter "Alex" A. Kellogg '99, arts and entertainment chair.

Williamson was out of town yesterday and could not be reached for comment

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