(Tea Party PAC) – This week, Georgetown University students voted in favor of paying an annual slavery reparation fee. There are reportedly no former slaves currently in attendance at Georgetown so this resolution is seemingly unnecessary; nonetheless onward they march.
The thought process behind the resolution is endearing, if anything. It allegedly addresses the fact that the university once owned slaves and in 1838 sold all of the slaves to pay off its debts. The students will now be charged $27.20 more each semester; the figure reflects the 272 slaves that Georgetown sold. It is worth noting that none of the students are being forced to go to Georgetown University and that none of the students at Georgetown University have ever actually owned slaves themselves.
In an attempt to make the reparation fees matter, the money will go towards the establishment of a fund that will distribute the money to schools and health care programs in Louisiana. There are around 4,000 known descendants of the 272 slaves who reside in Louisiana. Over two-thirds of the students who voted, voted in favor of this proposition.
The results of the referendum are as follows: 66.08% for yes (2541 votes), 33.92% for no (1304 votes). This means that the referendum passes.
— GUSA Elections (@GUSAElections) April 12, 2019
In a statement made by Dr. Todd Olson, Georgetown University Vice President for Student Affairs, said the university has had meetings with some of the descendants of the slaves who were once owned by the school, almost 200 years ago.
“Since 2015, Georgetown has been working to address its historical relationship to slavery and will continue to do so. Georgetown has taken initial steps to seek reconciliation, beginning with offering a formal apology to Descendants; renaming two buildings, including one for Isaac Hawkins, the first person named in the 1838 sale; and offering Descendants the same consideration in admissions that it gives members of the Georgetown community.
Since President DeGioia traveled to Louisiana in June 2016, Georgetown has met with many Descendants and heard many important ideas about how we might move forward together. The Descendant Community, the Society of Jesus, and Georgetown are working together towards reconciliation and transformation regarding the legacy of slavery. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation is providing its knowledge, experience, and resources to facilitate this work. The process is anchored in the practice of trust-building, truth-telling, racial healing, and transformation.”
Slavery was abolished in 1865 and while nobody is disputing the injustice of slavery as an institution one has to wonder what the actual benefit is to propositions like this one at Georgetown University. In reality, the descendants of slaves would not likely be living in the greatest, most influential, powerful, wealthiest country in the world today had it not been for the trial their ancestors endured.
The organization GU272 Descendants Association was formed in an effort to connect the Georgetown University slave descendants. The President of the GU272 association, Cheryllyn Branche, has said “We would hope that the sense of responsibility and commitment to putting the legacy of slavery behind us that has been shown by the students of Georgetown, will become a vision embraced by students at all of the slave holding institutions.”
So the goal is to put the legacy of slavery in the past by making it relevant today and insisting Americans alive today (not 200 years ago) be responsible for paying out monetary restitutions for injustices not committed by them nor against anyone alive today. The absurdity is hard to miss.