Georgetown students back slave reparations fee

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on April 12, 2019 - Duration: 01:57s

Georgetown students back slave reparations fee

Students at Georgetown University have voted in favor of paying reparations to the descendents of slaves who were sold by the university to keep the institution afloat.

Yahaira Jacquez reports.


Georgetown students back slave reparations fee

(SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) NILE BLASS, FRESHMAN AT GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: "I am not a patriot because I am proud of who our country is and content in its current state.

I'm a patriot because of what we could be." Nile Blass is a Georgetown University student who voted to increase her own tuition to fund reparations payments to the descendants of slaves once owned by the top-ranked school.

(SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) NILE BLASS, FRESHMAN AT GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: "The direct quality of life of these individuals who were used as objects and equipment for our university, can be directly tied to the decisions that our Georgetown faculty of the time created." A non-binding proposal passed the student body with a two-thirds majority Tuesday.

If approved by the school's board of governors, it would tack on $27.20 per semester to a student's tuition bill.

A symbolic number that reflects the 272 slaves the university sold in 1838 to pay off debt and keep it afloat.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) ALYSSA LISBON-GEORGETOWN STUDENT FROM MISSOURI SAYING: "The human capital that we gained from the sale of these people is still benefiting us like Georgetown would have closed down without these people." But not everyone is in favor.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) K.J.

MORAN - GEORGETOWN STUDENT SAYING: "The sale was done by the Society of Jesus and the Jesuits that they should be the ones who are fronting this cost." MELISANDE SHORT COLOMB, CURRENTGEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY STUDENT AND DESCENDANT OF THE SLAVES THAT WERE SOLD BY GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY SAYING: "There is something in the air…" Georgetown has offered admissions considerations to descendants of the slaves sold by the university - like Melisande Short Colomb." "There is something in the water right now and we're all smelling it and feeling it more sipping it, because this is not an isolated incident." If the measure goes into effect, it would become the first college in the country to mandate a fee for slave reparations.

The money raised is would go toward social welfare programs in Louisiana and Maryland, where many of the 4,000 known living descendants the former slaves now reside.

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