Columbia University Students Demand Course About School's Ties To SlaveryBy Emily Marks, UniversityHerald Reporter
Students at Columbia University are demanding that the school teach them about its historical ties to slavery. This comes amidst the ongoing criticism on universities and colleges that were involved in the trade.
USA Today College reported that several Columbia University students strongly believe that it is important for them to learn more about their school's history. One student, junior Keenan Teddy Smith, admitted that he was not shocked to learn about the institution's ties to slavery.
Smith, who himself is black, said that black students are taught early on by parents and family about slavery. However, there are a lot of non-black students who do not know about this part of history. He explained that this is the reason why a course on the school's historical ties to slavery should be taught to all Columbia University students.
Another black student, Damon Hart, agreed with Smith. Hart explained to the publication that students should learn about the "university's involvement in perpetuating the most morally bankrupt institution" in the country's history.
He further argued that learning about Columbia's historical ties to slavery would be a great help in contextualizing other modern forms of injustice done by the institution. This includes acts such as its investment in the South African apartheid and in the private prison industry as well as its continued redevelopment of Harlem and the Bronx.
Last month, the New York Times noted that a report by Eric Foner was published about Columbia University's historical ties to slavery. It included several documents that point to slavery being a common part of the lives of the institution's community.
One instance, the Washington Post added, was when a math professor in the 1760s asked students to calculate the profits that three investors earned in a slave-trading voyage. Several students, including George Washington's stepson John Custis, grew up in homes with slaves. Ads for runaway slaves posted by college leader as well as students were also uncovered by researchers.