According to reports, the Princeton Theological Seminary is setting aside roughly $28 million in reparations over its ties to slavery. The school will disburse the funds over the course of five years, part of which will include 30 new scholarships and five doctoral fellowships for descendants of enslaved people. The seminary is also planning to change its curriculum, hire more faculty whose area of study centers on the legacy of slavery, and rename spaces on campus after prominent African American figures.
Dean of Students, John White noted: “These responses are intended as acts of repentance that will lead to lasting impact within our community,” adding, “This is the beginning of the process of repair that will be ongoing.”
A report showed that the seminary, which is not part of Princeton University, did not own slaves and was not constructed by slave labor like other universities. However, the seminary reportedly received funds from Southern slaveowners and congregations associated with upholding the “peculiar institution,” while also having a large endowment from Southern banks connected with the expansion of slavery.
M. Craig Barnes, president of the seminary said in a statement:
“The Seminary’s ties to slavery are a part of our story, […] It is important to acknowledge that our founders were entangled with slavery and could not envision a fully integrated society.”