I wasn’t planning to spend any more time in college. Between my four undergraduate years and year in grad school, I feel as though I got as much out of that experience as I could. But now the promise of being being bumped to the head of the line if I apply for admission to Georgetown University has me seriously contemplating a return to the ivy-covered towers of academe.
The only problem I expect to encounter is providing documentation on which of my ancient ancestors were slaves under pharaoh.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Georgetown … will give preference in admissions to the descendants of slaves owned by the Maryland Jesuits as part of its effort to atone for profiting from the sale of enslaved people.
Meh. I should have read the fine print. The slaves from whom I imagine I am descended were held in captivity thousands of years ago, long before there was a state of Maryland, much less Jesuits.
But back to the news release:
Georgetown president John DeGioia told news outlets that the university in Washington will implement the admissions preferences. He says Georgetown will need to identify and reach out to descendants of slaves and recruit them to the university.
On Thursday morning, a university committee released a report that also called on its leaders to offer a formal apology for the university’s participation in the slave trade.
In 1838, two priests who served as president of the university orchestrated the sale of 272 people to pay off debts at the school. The slaves were sent from Maryland to plantations in Louisiana.
Fair enough, provided they insist on documentation from applicants that is independently verifiable. (We wouldn’t want fake slave descendants eclipsing real ones after all.) And further provided that scholastic achievement is at least a factor in the admission board’s decision.
As for those of us who are not descended from slaves owned by the Maryland Jesuits, we’ll just have to wait until some other institution of higher learning develops its own pangs of guilt and offers reparations to the rest of us for the hardships endured by our forebears under the yoke of some evil master.