Georgetown University’s president, John J. DeGoia, gave an announcement Thursday outlining steps the university will take to face its history with slavery, The New York Times reports.
The school will change the names of two buildings, issue a formal apology, and create an institute for the study of slavery, in addition to other changes, according to the Times. But in what may be the most important change of all, Georgetown will start offering preference in admission to the descendants of 272 slaves that the school sold in 1838—a sale that was used to pay off Georgetown’s debts, according to an announcement from the school.
In the announcement, the move is described as “giving descendants the same consideration we give members of the Georgetown community in the admissions process.” It will be similar to the legacy system, where applicants whose family members went to Georgetown have a better chance of getting in.
Georgetown will not be offering special scholarships or financial aid to the descendants. It’s also pretty unclear how Georgetown will find these descendants, and whether they’ll even be aware that this opportunity is available to them, but The Washington Post reports that DeGoia has already met with 40-50 descendants in Washington and Louisiana.