OurWeekly "Reparations" cover from 2005. (25968)

Undergraduate students at Brown University have voted overwhelmingly that the institution should offer reparations to descendants of slaves who were affiliated with the school and its founders, reports NBC News.

Undergraduate students at the Ivy League school in Providence, Rhode Island, voted on two referendum questions last week during its annual election. One asked whether Brown should make “all possible efforts to identify the descendants of enslaved Africans who were entangled with and/or afflicted by the University and Brown family and their associates.” The other asked whether Brown should provide reparations to those descendants of slaves. The questions were approved with about 89 percent and 85 percent, respectively.

The students voted for reparations in multiple forms, including preferential admission for descendants of enslaved people, direct payments to descendants and targeted investments in Black communities.

Brown would not be the first higher education institution to weigh whether to issue reparations to descendants of enslaved people who were associated with the university — the ballots referred to 2019 efforts at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., which offered full scholarships to descendants of slaves at the university and its affiliated Catholic monastery and raised current students’ cost of attendance to pay for them.

The same year, Princeton Theological Seminary announced a $27 million commitment for initiatives to recognize how it benefited from slavery. Last summer, the Reparations at University of Chicago Working Group called for the university “to develop a comprehensive reparative justice process to fully make amends for the University’s past while building a new relationship” with the Black community.

More recently, the Virginia House passed a measure Feb. 4 that would require five colleges in the state to offer “tangible benefits,” such as scholarships or development programs, for nearby Black communities. The bill advanced to the Democratic-controlled Senate, where it is likely to pass.