Georgetown students endorse slavery reparations fund in vote

The $27.20-per-semester fee would create one of the first reparations funds at a major U.S. institution.
Image: Students walk past a Jesuit statue in front of Freedom Hall, center, formerly named Mulledy Hall, on the Georgetown University campus in Washington
Students walk past a Jesuit statue in front of Freedom Hall, center, formerly named Mulledy Hall, on the Georgetown University campus in Washington.Jacquelyn Martin / AP file

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By The Associated Press

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 nonbinding 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 percent of voters. The fee was opposed by 1,304. Turnout was 57.9 percent.

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.