The student government at a Kentucky university voted Tuesday night to recommend that the school make tuition “free” for all black students.
The Student Government Association at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky, said the measure is a recommendation to pay those students reparations for slavery, even though the U.S. abolished slavery more than 150 years ago. The resolution sends a message to university faculty and administrators that slavery is “a debt that will never be paid,” according to Campus Reform.
The resolution, which passed 19-10, also called for a special task force to research ways to make it easier for black students to apply and get accepted into the college.
The school’s website listed undergraduate tuition for campus residents during the fall 2016 and spring 2017 semesters at $4,956 per semester.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 8.9 percent of Western Kentucky students during the 2013-14 school year were black. White students accounted for 76 percent of the overall student body the same year.
“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,” student Sen. Andrea Ambam, who co-authored the resolution, told the WKU Herald, the university’s student newspaper.
Student Sen. Brian Anderson, who also played a role in crafting the resolution, said: “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.”
Other student leaders disagreed.
“It will disadvantage other people from getting the same education,” Sen. William Hurst told the Herald. “I am not discounting that there is an obvious disadvantage to African-American students, but this resolution would discriminate against other populations.”
Sen. Lily Nellans echoed Hurst’s comments.
“A lot of times equality can feel like oppression for those who are losing their advantage,” she said, “but that’s not a reason we shouldn’t fight for equality.”
A representative for Western Kentucky University did not immediately respond Wednesday to a request for comment from TheBlaze.