Georgetown students vote to pay slavery reparation fee

Sergio Conner
April 14, 2019

'Our students are contributing to an important national conversation...'

Students at Washington's Georgetown University have voted to pay "reparations" for descendants of 272 slaves once owned by the institution.

Undergraduate students at Georgetown University have voted in support of a fee to benefit descendants of enslaved people sold by the university almost 200 years ago, ABC News reports. "This means that the referendum passes", GUSA Elections tweeted Thursday.

More than 2,500 votes were cast in favor of the semester fee Thursday, according to a Georgetown University Student Association tweet.

The fund would be the first of its kind in the country. "The University has made a commitment to further our efforts in dialogue and partnership with the Descendant community, seeking to promote work that draws on the inherent strengths and expertise of our community in collaboration with the Descendant and Jesuit communities and that promotes racial justice", Todd Olson, Georgetown University's vice president for student affairs, said in a statement.

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The Descendant Community, the Society of Jesus, and Georgetown are working together towards reconciliation and transformation regarding the legacy of slavery.

The referendum is non-binding, and any such fee would need approval from Georgetown administrators.

Since President DeGioia traveled to Louisiana in June 2016, Georgetown has met with many Descendants and heard many important ideas about how we might move forward together. A bill sponsored by Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas that would create a commission to consider reparations has gained widespread backing among the 2020 hopefuls, who have expressed varying degrees of support for reparations. Tuition for undergraduates in the 2019 fiscal year is $53,520.

"The students remembered, recognized, and re-ignited awareness about descendants who literally made it possible for today's Georgetown University", Lee Baker, a GU272 descendant, told The Hoya.

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