In 2015 and 2016, the world learned that the Maryland Province of the Jesuits sold 272 enslaved people to help buttress the finances of Georgetown University. That moment of protest and acknowledgement culminated in a November 2015 teach-in at Georgetown University that connected University of Virginia President’s Commission on Slavery and the University Co-Chair Kirt von Daacke with the working group at Georgetown University charged with investigating the school’s connections to slavery.
The results of that winter meeting included changing what was up to that point an informal gathering of Virginia schools (Virginia Colleges & Universities Studying Slavery, VCUSS) into a formal consortium known as Universities Studying Slavery (USS). With the name change and formalization of membership in early 2016, Georgetown University became the first non-Virginia school to sign on. Today, the consortium has grown to include over eighty schools in five countries—truly impressive growth over just a few years!
At the time the GU 272 news was capturing national attention, Loyola University Maryland investigated its own possible connections to that very same sale. The school now has reason to think that Loyola is more deeply connected to the sale of the GU 272 than they first thought. Moreover, as many universities across the country are already investigating their own connections to slavery and racism, Loyola thinks the time is right to launch a deeper investigation into the university’s connections to slavery. Thus, the school is forming a presidential task force to investigate Loyola’s connections to slavery. The task force is charged with initiating and guiding a university’wide examination of Loyola’s connections to slavery and its ongoing legacies. These legacies include, but are not limited to, the broader experience of African Americans at Loyola and Loyola’s contributions to efforts promoting racial justice on campus, in Baltimore, and across the country.
In embarking on this project, Loyola joins Allegany College of Maryland, the Community College of Baltimore County, Goucher College, Johns Hopkins University, Morgan State University, Towson University, and the University of Maryland, as the eighth school in Maryland to sign on to Universities Studying Slavery (USS).
We are thrilled here at USS headquarters to welcome another institution into this growing movement and look forward to watching the Loyola team connect with the rich resources the consortium’s membership provides. Please welcome Loyola University Maryland to USS.