Georgetown students vote for slavery reparations tuition hike

Georgetown students vote on historic proposal to pay reparations to slave descendants

Georgetown students vote on historic proposal to pay reparations to slave descendants

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

Georgetown University students have voted in favor of a referendum seeking the establishment of a fund that benefits the descendants of enslaved people who were sold by the school in the 1800s to pay off its debts. As a result of the resolution, students will now be charged an additional $27.20 per semester.

The Georgetown University Student Association (GUSA) said 2,541 students voted in favor of the measure while 1,304 opposed it.

The vote marks the first time students have favored a slavery reparation. CNN notes that the collected fees would amount to about $400,000 annually and, per the bill, would "be allocated for charitable purposes directly benefiting the descendants. and other persons once enslaved by the Maryland Jesuits".

University records show Georgetown Jesuits initially kept 272 men, women and children on plantations in Maryland to sustain the university.

The Georgetown referendum comes as Democratic candidates for president debate whether the United States should provide compensation to the descendants of African-American slaves.

Todd Olson, vice president for student affairs, said in a statement that students were adopting one of many ways to respond to "legacies of slavery". Student referendums help to express important student perspectives but do not create university policy and are not binding on the university.

But several 2020 Democratic hopefuls, including senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, have said they would sign a reparations bill if elected president. 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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