The Student Government Association of Western Kentucky University has announced it voted for paying reparations to black students because of slavery that existed more than one hundred years before they were born.
The student association, which passed the resolution19-10-1, said the university should acknowledge slavery is “a debt that will never be paid,” adding that a special task force should be created by WKU to research test-optional admissions and geographically-weighted admissions. That wasn’t all; the student association asserted that all black people should be given free tuition.
One of the two co-authors of the resolution, Senator Brian Anderson, opined, “This is something that I think is more importantly about sending a clear message than it is about actually trying to strive for the institution to actually give out free tuition to everybody.”
The other author, Senator Andrea Ambam, said universities claim diversity but won’t acknowledge the negative effects of slavery and segregation on black students. Ambam argued:
If you really care about diversity, if you really care about inclusion, if you really care about making this campus safe and accessible to everybody, having the student government’s support of reparation for black students would be amazing … I have no doubt that it started up conversation already. To me, that’s the first step … The point of a resolution like this is basically to make a huge statement saying that the Student Government Association recognizes the impact that slavery has had on black people today and that changes need to be made.
Several student senators pointed out that free tuition for black students would entail others being forced to pay for it, either by increasing fees on other students or by taxes paid to the government.
Senator William Hurst: “It will disadvantage other people from getting the same education. I am not discounting that there is an obvious disadvantage to African-American students, but this resolution would discriminate against other populations.”
Carter Gross, a student at the university, openly wondered whether the SGA will consider giving free tuition to Native American students for being forced from their lands, or giving free tuition to Asian Americans for racism expressed toward them. He questioned whether “this is just virtue signaling at the expense of other students to make the SGA feel good about themselves.”
As John Hawkins has pointed out, “Even in the South, depending on which numbers you believe, somewhere between 80-95% of white Americans never owned slaves. There were also several thousand black Americans who owned slaves … why would a white northerner from a state that didn't have slaves owe "reparations" for slavery? For example, what wrong would a Republican abolitionist – who hated slavery, voted for Abe Lincoln, and fought in the Civil War – have done that would require "reparations?"