Howard University Elects Its First Transgender Student Body President

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Jay Jones (right) and vice president-elect Tariah Hyland celebrated their wins when election results were released in March. (Photos courtesy of Jay Jones)

A political science major and rising senior, Jay Jones is the newly elected Student Association President for 2024-2025 — and the first transgender woman to hold that role — at historically Black Howard University. She is currently interning for the Chase Bank Leadership Development Program on the Learning, Training, and Reinforcement Team.

Jay Jones, Howard University’s first transgender student body president.

Jones says she was extremely motivated to take on the challenge of running for, and serving in, the presidency. “I knew during my time as vice president [this past year] there is only so much you can get done. It’s the kind of role that doesn’t ruffle many feathers. All my life I have sold myself short. So when I ran for president it was a testament to the impact I thought I could have, and also a reflection of myself, my understanding that I wasn’t done. I knew that win, lose, or draw, I would be proud of my decision [to run].”

“I wanted it to be a movement, not just a platform,” Jones says of her decision to campaign on the ONWARD platform, which focused on cultivating student experience in five key areas: Housing, Academics, Safety, Legacy, and Community. She is currently working with her leadership team to establish Project Onward, a Washington, D.C.-area initiative committed to engaging and mobilizing young voters in local and national elections and increasing diverse representation on campaign staffs.

Jones has experienced an outpouring of support. “The ceiling is never the ceiling, and I am so grateful I have people in my life who tell me I can go higher.”