Georgetown students vote for slavery reparation fee

Students on Georgetown University's campus

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The referendum and fee were pushed for by a student group known as the GU272 Advocacy Team.

Georgetown University students voted in favor of increasing their tuition to pay for descendants of slaves sold by university affiliates almost 200 years ago.

Georgetown's students have passed a measure by referendum that says the prestigious university must pay reparations to the descendants of the slaves that made the school possible in the first place.

It would be administered by a board made up of students and descendants of the slaves to provide money for the education of descendants and other charitable purposes.

The university said the referendum "provides valuable insight" but did not say whether it would honor the student vote or not. "Our students are contributing to an important national conversation and we share their commitment to addressing Georgetown's history with slavery", the statement started.

"There are many approaches that enable our community to respond to the legacies of slavery", he said.

The 272 slaves in question were sold in 1838 to keep the university open, the Examiner reported.

The referendum is non-binding, and any such fee would need approval from Georgetown administrators.

After the passage of the bill, Georgetown sophomore Eliza Dunni Phillips, a member of the GU272, told CNN: "The vestiges of slavery are still so evident, and so numerous African Americans whose ancestors were enslaved are still so disenfranchised". A bill sponsored by Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas that would create a commission to consider reparations has gained widespread backing among the 2020 hopefuls, who have expressed varying degrees of support for reparations. Tuition for undergraduates in the 2019 fiscal year is $53,520.

Georgetown University has an undergraduate enrollment of more than 7,000.

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