Last week we noted that Georgetown University President, John DeGioia, announced plans to grant preferential admission consideration to descendants of slaves formerly owned and sold by the university in 1838 (see “Georgetown To Grant Admission Preference To Slave Descendants“). According to a report of a special “Working Group” of the university, two priests who served as president back in 1838 orchestrated the sale of 272 slaves netting the university $115,000 ($3mm in current dollars) which was used to pay off school debts. The “preference in admissions,” along with an official apology from President DeGioia, was part of the school’s effort to “atone” for profiting from the sale of enslaved
As part of our note, we suggested that Georgetown should post their “bid” of “preference in admissions” to the official Reparationswebsite so that an official market could be established (see “There Is Now A Marketplace For White People To Make Reparations Payments“). Now, less than a week later, we have an official “offer” from the descendants of the slaves formerly owned by Georgetown who want “preference in admission” plus a mere $1 billion. Up until now, the 15 point spread on the Ford term loan back in October 2008 was about the most egregious bid/ask gap we’d ever seen but this puts that market to shame.
Per the Washington Post, the descendants of the 272 slaves sold by Georgetown University have already raised $115,000 so they really only need help with the incremental $999,885,000.
The descendants proposed a $1 billion foundation and announced that they had raised $115,000 in seed money, an amount equivalent to the 1838 sales price for the 272 people Georgetown sold to pay off a debt. That amount is equivalent to about $3 million in today’s dollars.
“The foundation can only be a reality if we can establish a partnership with Georgetown University,” he said. “The foundation is our vision of an opportunity for us to have a partnership with Georgetown University that can take the history that we all now know about and turn it into a greater common good for Georgetown, the Jesuits, the Catholic Church, and humans overall.
He praised university leaders. “What Georgetown did was step out and away on an issue that has just dragged our whole country and society backward. They have stepped out in front and said, ‘We need to openly deal with this.’ I want to commend them for that. But we want to work with them on a greater vision that’s not dependent on the day-to-day educational mission of Georgetown, a separate foundation that we all have a role in. … We can take that, use it in a positive way to do much better for all of God’s wonderful humanity.”
That said, according to the website of the Georgetown University Investment Office the school’s total endowment is only about $1.5 billion. As such, we suspect that additional negotiations may be required to close the gap between Georgetown’s bid (apology + admission preference) and the current offer (apology + admission preference + $1,000,000,000) before an official settlement can be reached.