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Georgetown University in Washington DC

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Students Overwhelmingly Approve A Specific Reparations Measure

The topic of reparations has taken center stage at Georgetown University, and a major vote on Thursday could change the course of the conversation.

According to ABC News, students voted and approved a measure that would increase tuition for the university by $27.20 per semester. This money would go to a fund that would benefit descendants of the 272 slaves sold by Georgetown Jesuits to settle their debt in 1838.

Students approved the measure by almost a 2-to-1 margin, and now the measure just has to be approved by the university.

The vice president of student affairs at Georgetown University, Todd Olson, issued a statement after the vote:

“University values the engagement of our students and appreciates that 3,845 students made their voices heard in yesterday’s election. Our students are contributing to an important national conversation and we share their commitment to addressing Georgetown’s history with slavery.”

This approval comes after a long period of organizing and awareness from students, professors, and scholars. One victory came in 2016 when the university agreed to give admissions preference to the descendants of the 272 slaves. The first two descendants arrived on campus in the fall of 2017.

Now, with the tuition increase, more moves can be made to atone for the sale of 272 human beings.

However, the measure is still without criticism.

Some students wonder why Georgetown isn’t putting in necessary money for their own wrongdoing.

“It’s unjust to compel 7,000-plus people to pay for the university’s historical sins,” said Haley Grande, a sophomore student in leadership at the university. “There is an obligation for Georgetown to reconcile its sins, and that obligation falls squarely on the institution.”

Some Black students who aren’t descendants of the 272 Georgetown slaves also wonder why they have to pay increased tuition if they too are descendants of slaves.

According to Politico, the current measure would create a non-profit governed by a board of five students and five descendants who would allocate the funds collected from the $27.20 fee. The money would go towards projects that would help cover the Georgetown descendants needs such as healthcare, scholarships, and more.

So obviously, there’s still a lot to be discussed.

But the moves forward can’t be denied.

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