Georgetown University could become the first college in the nation to mandate a fee to benefit descendants of slaves sold by the university nearly 200 years ago — a debate that takes place against the backdrop of a broader political conversation unfolding on the 2020 presidential campaign trail about reparations.

 White-Gravenor Hall of Georgetown University is shown.
Image: Aimin Tang/Getty Images

By almost a 2-to-1 margin, students approved the measure, which still must be approved by the university to go into effect.

The school’s undergraduates voted Thursday on the referendum, which would increase tuition by $27.20 per semester to create a fund benefiting descendants of the 272 slaves sold to pay off the Georgetown Jesuits’ debt — a move that saved the university financially.

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