Georgetown University will take steps to atone for its historical links to slavery, including granting admissions preference for descendants of slaves whose sale benefited the U.S. school, officials said on Thursday.
The moves are aimed at acknowledging and encouraging dialogue about the Jesuit-run university’s ties to slavery, Georgetown President John DeGioia said in a statement.
The effort includes holding a Mass of reconciliation, creating an institute for the study of slavery and renaming buildings at the university in the U.S. capital.
Georgetown also will create a memorial for slaves whose work benefited the school, including the 1838 sale of 272 slaves who worked on Jesuit plantations in Maryland. Proceeds were used to pay off debts at Georgetown.
Georgetown also will offer an advantage in admissions to descendants of slaves with links to the school, the statement said. It did not give details, but said such applicants would get the “same consideration we give members of the Georgetown community,” usually a term for children of alumni.
The steps follow recommendations by a committee that DeGioia appointed in September on how best to recognize Georgetown’s historical links to slavery.
(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Frances Kerry)