'Our students are contributing to an important national conversation...'
The students are considering a fee benefiting the descendants of enslaved people.
Georgetown University students are considering a fee benefiting the descendants of enslaved people sold to pay off the school's debts, an effort that would create one of the first reparations funds at a major USA institution.
Students at Georgetown University took a major step in reparations reform, after voting in favor to raise tuition at the school by approximately $27 per semester. 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".
The results are not binding on the university, which was founded by Jesuits in 1789 and is located in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington. The addition of the $27.20 fee represents the number of slaves (272) sold by the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus in 1838, who are often referred to as the Georgetown University 272, or GU272.
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"There are many approaches that enable our community to respond to the legacies of slavery", Olson said.
The student vote comes as the issue of reparations for slaves has gathered momentum among Democratic candidates running for president in 2020.
Barack Obama, America's first black president, and 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton did not support compensation for the descendants of slaves.
"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. Tuition for undergraduates in the 2019 fiscal year is $53,520.