The student government at Western Kentucky University on Tuesday voted in favor of giving free tuition to black students.
The school’s Student Government Association passed a resolution by 19-10 supporting slavery reparations for black students in the form of free tuition and free access to the public Bowling Green campus.
The resolution also recommends that the university create a task force to “assess the feasibility of test-optional admissions and geographically-weighted admissions,” claiming that some standardized testing poses a disadvantage for needy students and perpetuates inequality and “white supremacy,” The Bowling Green Daily News reported.
“We demand reparations for the systemic denial of access to high quality educational opportunities in the form of full and free access for all black people (including undocumented, currently and formerly incarcerated people to Western Kentucky University),” the resolution reads, according to the Daily News.
SGA President Jay Todd Richey told the newspaper that the long-shot resolution is meant as a “conversation starter.”
“Due to discriminatory education, housing and employment policies that have disproportionately held back Black Americans, we believe this resolution is ultimately a conversation starter for discussing how to make college both more affordable and accessible for communities of color and marginalized people in general,” he wrote in an email.
“People can debate the prudence of actually eliminating tuition for all Black students, and it’s extremely unlikely regardless, but the point is to have a real conversation about how we eliminate racial disparities in higher education,” he said. “We need to consider making reparations in the form of more equitable college admissions policies, financial assistance and campus support and resources, and we hope this provocative statement will launch an important dialogue about to achieve that.”
Andrea Ambam and Brian Anderson, two SGA senators who wrote the resolution, said it was inspired by a similar resolution approved in February by students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Daily News reported.
The university has yet to comment on the resolution.
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