Nine years after the debate over slavery reparations rocked the campus, the verdict is in: Brown has decided in favor of reparations, thinly disguised as “social justice.” The University has given $30,000 to three local elementary schools, as the first installment of what The Providence Journal says is a multi-million dollar commitment. The gift was recommended in the 2006 report of the Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice. Of course, no one in the Brown administration or on the committee is calling this reparations, but how can it be construed as anything but? Merriam-Webster defines reparation as “the act of making amends, offering expiation, or giving satisfaction for a wrong or injury.” As this is meant to make up for Brown’s historic ties to the slave trade, it is most certainly reparations.
Such a move is especially egregious at a time when Brown is raising tuition and cutting $90 million in staff and other expenses in order to deal with the recession. We hope past and prospective donors think twice about about giving to a university that could turn around and use those funds to further a political agenda.