On Monday, Students at the Ivy League school Brown University voted in favor of two resolutions approving reparations for black students, as reported by the Washington Free Beacon.
Both resolutions seek to identify any black students who are direct descendants of slaves, or “who were entangled with and/or afflicted by the University and Brown family and their associates,” in reference to the university’s founder Nicholas Brown Jr.
One resolution would give priority admission to any such black students, while the other would give direct monetary payments to said students. In the vote amongst all students on campus, the admissions resolution received 89 percent of the vote, while the financial payment resolution received 85 percent. The vote was held after the student government at Brown passed a resolution, introduced by the student government president Jason Carroll, “calling upon Brown to attempt to identify and reparate the descendants of slaves entangled with the university.”
Brown is only the latest university to approve such race-based measures. Georgetown University approved its own plan in 2019 to identify and pay reparations to students who are identified as being descendants of slaves. And a spokesman for Brown University implied that the school is not done with so-called “anti-racism” measures, telling the Beacon that “the current work of Brown’s Task Force on Anti-Black Racism will make recommendations on more Brown can do to address the legacy of slavery.”
And yet, in his time, Nicholas Brown Jr. was a vocal opponent of slavery and an active abolitionist. One of his descendants, historian Sylvia Brown, voiced her opposition to the reparations plan and pointed out that her ancestor explicitly prohibited the captains of his merchant ships from trafficking slaves, as well as forbidding the family’s Providence Bank from lending to slave traders.