Georgetown University Students Vote in Favor of Slavery Reparation Fund

The $27 fee will benefit descendants of the school's infamous 1838 slave trade.

Georgtown reparations
Georgetown students voted for reparations. (Getty)
By Kayla Kibbe / April 12, 2019 11:09 am

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Undergrads at Georgetown University voted in favor of a referendum seeking to establish a slavery reparation fund, the Associated Press reported.

The mandatory $27.20-per-semester fee would benefit the descendants of the 272 enslaved people who were notoriously sold off to pay the school’s debts in 1838. The money from the so-called “Reconciliation Contribution” would reportedly go to projects in underprivileged communities where some descendants live.

The university’s reparation fund would be one of the first of its kind.

Georgetown is among many schools that have attracted criticism in recent years for unsavory historical affiliations. Back in 2017, Yale made headlines when the university changed the name of a building commemorating 19th-century white supremacist and slave-holder John C. Calhoun. Two years before, Georgetown itself made a similar move, renaming two buildings that had previously honored former university presidents who organized the infamous 1838 sale.

The university’s latest attempt to atone for past wrongs started with a student-led proposal, which, according to a statement released by university administrator Todd Olson, provided “valuable insight into student perspectives.”

Students voted overwhelmingly in favor of the proposal. According to AP, the Georgetown University Student Association Elections Committee said 2,541 students, about 66 percent of voters, voted for the Reconciliation Contribution. Voter turnout was 57.9 percent.

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