Georgetown students voted Thursday to set up a fund to help descendants of slaves sold in the 19th century to pay university debt.
Two-thirds of undergraduate students who voted in the referendum referendum supported the measure, which was not binding but sent a message to university administrators – and beyond.
The vote comes at a time when compensation has been a problem nationally, promoted by some democratic presidential candidates, and when an increasing number of universities are exploring the role of slavery in their own institutions.
Student activists said they hope that Georgetown's board of directors will discuss it at the forthcoming spring meeting.
"As a student of an elite institution, we recognize the great privileges we have received and at least party allies repay our debts to those families whose involuntary victims made these privileges possible," the sponsors wrote in the referendum. "As individuals with moral imagination, we choose to do more than just recognize the past – we decide to change our future."
The measure proposes a fee that begins with $ 27.20 for the fall 2020 semester, which would offset an estimated $ 400,000. The tuition fee will increase with inflation and would fund a non-profit led by a board of students and descendants who would provide money for charitable causes directly benefiting from the descendants of the sale.
One third of the students who voted against the measure, with some objections to students paying for university action, and some disagree with the idea of compensation for past accidents.
State governors welcomed the referendum and said it was a meaningful step forward in reconciling the university's legacy of slavery.
Translation It continues through the school's officials, and if the action is over, it will put Georgetown on the right side of the story, writes Georgetown University Student Association, President Norman Francis, Jr. and Vice President Aleida Olvera in an early Friday statement when they announced results.
The university has dug into its less well-known aspects its history, including the legacy of slavery at the institution. A 19th century sale of 272 slavery men, women and children – which helped the school solve some urgent debt, but which separated families and vulnerable people from disturbing relationships on southern plantations – has become a symbol of both the slavery's horror and the elections as universities face confronting their own scholarships. Georgetown's leaders apologized for the past and took steps to correct historical clock.
Some students claim they haven't done enough. The referendum was an attempt to ensure that some change direct descendants of the 1838 sale.
Todd Olson, Deputy Director of Student Life in Georgetown, said in a written statement: "The University values our elder's commitment and appreciates that 3,845 students received their voices heard in yesterday's elections. Our students contribute to an important national conversation and we share their commitment to addressing Georgetown's history of slavery.
"We understand that the goals of the referendum are to honor the 272 unified people sold by the Maryland Jesuits in 1838 and for pre-causes and proposals that directly enjoy descendants who are in disadvantaged communities. ""
Olson said the referendum "will help guide our continued engagement with students, faculty and staff, members of the community and Jesus' community."