Undergraduate students at Georgetown University — the prestigious university located in Washington, D.C. — approved a measure that declares the school must pay reparations to the descendants of slaves that helped create the school in the first place.
How will this effort be funded, one asks?
Every Georgetown student, each semester, will pay a fee of $27.20 on top of whatever other fees and charges the students already pay. That money would then go into a brand new fund.
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But that’s only if the students get their way.
In a statement to ABC News, Matt Hill, the university’s media relations manager, said, “Student referendums help to express important student perspectives but do not create university policy and are not binding. The university will carefully review the results of the referendum, and regardless of the outcome, will remain committed to engaging with students, descendants, and the broader Georgetown community and addressing its historical relationship to slavery.”
There were 272 slaves sold off to pay a debt to the Maryland Society of Jesuits, an action that saved the university financially, according to reports.
The sale of those individuals raised approximately half a million dollars in 1838.
“The Jesuits sold my family and 40 other families so you could be here,” Melisande Short-Colomb, a sophomore this year at Georgetown, said to other students at a town hall last week on the issue, as ABC News reported.
A student group known as the GU272 Advocacy Team pushed for the referendum and fee initiative.
— New York Post (@nypost) April 12, 2019
Those behind the measure claim the new fee structure would raise some $400,000 a year.
Georgetown sophomore Eliza Dunni Phillips, a member of the GU272, told CNN after the measure passed, “The vestiges of slavery are still so evident, and so many of the African-Americans whose ancestors were enslaved are still so disenfranchised. It’s not enough to say ‘sorry.’ Georgetown has to put their money where their mouth is and invest into the descendant community.”
“We can’t keep trying to pay every member of American society for every injustice that may have happened to them or their families.”
A Boston-based mother of three offered this perspective to LifeZette: “I would hope at least one instructor or administrator at Georgetown asks these students, ‘How does money really make up for slavery? And where does this kind of decision lead?’ In my mind, I think this is opening a Pandora’s box filled with paying every person for every injustice ever.”
“Money can’t make up for some things,” she added. “We can’t keep trying to pay every member of American society for every injustice that may have happened to them or their families.”
Many of the Democratic candidates for 2020 have expressed an interest in either studying reparations for slavery or paying for it, period.
Some, such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), even want reparations to extend to the descendants of Native-Americans as well.