Students walk past a Jesuit statue in front of Freedom Hall, center, formerly named Mulledy Hall, on the Georgetown University campus in Washington.
WASHINGTON — Georgetown University undergraduates have voted in favor of a referendum seeking the establishment of a fund benefiting the descendants of enslaved people sold to pay off the school’s debts.
The $27.20-per-semester fee would create one of the first reparations funds at a major U.S. institution. In an early Friday statement, university administrator Todd Olson didn’t commit to the fund’s establishment, but said Thursday’s non-binding vote provided “valuable insight into student perspectives.”
The Georgetown University Student Association Elections Commission said 2,541 students voted for the “Reconciliation Contribution.” That’s just over 66% of voters. The fee was opposed by 1,304. Turnout was 57.9%.
The student-led proposal aims to atone for the Jesuit-organized sale of 272 slaves in 1838. Fees would go toward projects in underprivileged communities where some descendants live, including Maringouin, Louisiana.