The Boston College Graduate Student Association (GSA) brought Tina Tchen, assistant to the President of the United States and chief of staff to First Lady Michelle Obama, to BC Saturday to speak about her views and experiences. Tchen spoke about women’s equality, with an emphasis on education as well as a call for national paid leave. She also recounted her personal story of having grown up as a child of Chinese immigrants and achieved success as a member of Obama’s cabinet.
This is one of the highest profile speakers at BC this year. The GSA demonstrated good organization and work in securing Tchen as a speaker. One important aspect of this is the fact that Tchen is a very successful woman of color. By bringing her to campus, the GSA is introducing increased diversity into the speakers offered at BC. Student effort is always admirable in situations like this, and this effort is a good sign of an active attempt to bring the benefit of these speakers to the students of BC.
The administration has also taken steps toward increased diversity in speakers. Jose Antonio Vargas, a Filipino undocumented immigrant and Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist, will be speaking at BC on Mar. 1 as part of the Winston Center for Leadership Ethics Chambers Lecture series. Adding this high-profile speaker to one of the most visible event series on campus is a good step toward legitimizing diversity in the guests and events BC offers.
This is a trend that should continue. As student groups consider possible speakers, they should keep in the mind the importance of diversity and the impact that a successful speaker such as Tchen can have on those who attend her talk. The administration should also continue its trend of inviting diverse speakers to campus.
The Ta-Nehisi Coates talk last semester and the Vargas talk this semester are both good examples of this, and should be expanded in the future. These speakers provide a great opportunity for students and enhance the cultural atmosphere at BC. Students should continue to take the effort into their own hands, using their resources to bring diverse speakers to campus, while the administration should use its resources similarly.
Featured Image by Lucius Xuan / Heights Staff