Georgetown University students voted in favor to increase their tuition to pay for descendants of slaves sold by university affiliates nearly 200 years ago.
More than 2,500 votes were cast in favor of the semester fee Thursday, according to a Georgetown University Student Association tweet.
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
The fee, if passed by the school’s board of directors, would benefit the descendants of the 272 enslaved people sold by a Jesuit society affiliated with Georgetown in 1838, known as GU272.
“Our students are contributing to an important national conversation and we share their commitment to addressing Georgetown’s history with slavery,” Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson said in a statement Friday.
The fee would be $27.20 for each student per semester. Funding could possibly support projects like K-12 education and college scholarships, according to the school’s newspaper The Hoya.
The fund would also be the first to focus on slavery reparations by a notable American institution, The New York Times reported.
“The school wouldn’t be here without them,” Georgetown junior and GU272 descendant Shepard Thomas said, according to The NYTimes.
Thomas added that the fee number comes from the number of people sold, The NYTimes reported.
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