Georgetown to consider challenge of referendum approving fee for slavery reparations
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A Georgetown University legislative body this week will consider a challenge to a successful student referendum to increase tuition to benefit the descendants of slaves sold by the university in the 1800s. 

Two students filed a suit claiming the referendum violated the Georgetown University Student Association’s (GUSA) constitution and regulations, according to student newspaper The Hoya.

It reportedly claims that the referendum, which was attached to the spring senate elections, was illegitimate because the GUSA can only hold such ballot measures for proposed constitutional amendments.


“Regardless of one’s perspective on the goals of the referendum, students should all be able to agree that there is nothing more important to any government than ensuring that it follows the laws that regulate it,” Chris Castaldi-Moller, one of the students challenging the referendum, wrote to the newspaper.

The challenge was filed to the GUSA’s interpretive body, the Constitutional Council. The group, which serves as the final appellate board for GUSA issues, decided to hear the case on Wednesday and will reportedly reach a decision over the break for Easter.

More than 66 percent of the student body voted in favor of the tuition increase of $27.20, marking the highest voter turnout in recorded Georgetown student government electoral history, according to The Hoya. 

The university will still need to approve the resolution for it to go into effect.

If enacted, the increase reportedly would go into a reparation fund for descendants of slaves the institution sold. The university sold 272 slaves in 1838 to pay off debt, saving the school. 

Georgetown has a memorial for the slaves sold and offers admissions preference for their descendants.

The discussion on the Georgetown campus comes as many politicians and 2020 Democratic presidential candidates have proposed ideas for slavery reparations.

Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerBush testifies before Congress about racist treatment Black birthing people face during childbirth, pregnancy Tim Scott sparks buzz in crowded field of White House hopefuls Never underestimate Joe Biden MORE (D-N.J.) this month introduced legislation to study granting reparations to African-Americans.