A majority of students at Georgetown University voted on Thursday to increase their tuition by $27.20 to benefit descendants of the 272 enslaved Africans that the Jesuits who ran the school sold almost two centuries ago to secure its economic foundation.
A fund of this type would represent the first instance of reparations for slavery by a prominent American organization.
The proposal passed with two-thirds of the vote, but the student-led referendum was nonbinding, and the university’s board of directors must approve the measure before it can take effect.
A More Radical Approach
This is a good idea, Black and Intellectual recently spoke with Wendi Muse about this very issue. The question is why is the burden being placed on the students and not the institution of Georgetown itself?
A more radical approach would involve the acquisition of land owned by Georgetown (not all of it) to be dispersed to the descendants. Georgetown also has a $1.6 billion endowment that that could be used to supply a source of funds for descendants of slaves. The university could provide free admission to descendants, allowing them to come and benefit from the resources a university like Georgetown has. There are more options as well.
While news like this is welcomed, we should continue to push the envelope and force major changes nationwide. The reparations agenda is stronger policy that its detractors would have you believe. We are changing the narrative little by little.