Journalism 133: Prof. Craig: Fact Checking Exercise

Fact Checking Exercise

Numerous factual errors have been introduced into the following article, but it is based on a current real story. All names and quoted material here are accurate, but other elements have been changed. 

Please download the Word document of this story or paste the text below into a Word document.  Next, look up and verify all information, then use Track Changes to fix all errors and rewrite the story with all errors corrected.  Email the completed assignment to me by class time next Monday.

Tennessee Legislature votes to require colleges to make reparations for their role in slavery

Five colleges and universities in Tennessee with ties to slavery may be forced to pay reparations under legislation that passed Thursday in the Tennessee legislature.

The measure calls for University of Tennessee, Tennessee Technological University (Tennessee Tech), East Tennessee State University, Vanderbilt University and Rhodes College — all schools built before 1865 — to identify all the enslaved people who labored on their properties, to the extent possible. The bill was approved on a 61-39 vote.

The schools would then be required to offer full four-year scholarships or economic development programs to descendants of slaves. The project would allow descendants to attend any of the five institutions.

“HB 1980 is a small but important step to acknowledge and address that the foundational success of five universities was based on enslaved labor," said David Reid, the Knox County representative who is pushing for the legislation. This is an opportunity for these universities to give back.”

Reid’s bill would require the schools to pay reparations by either creating a community-based grant program or by offering scholarships to descendants of slaves.

“Individuals or specific communities with a demonstrated historic connection to slavery” would qualify for the benefits, according to the legislation.

The schools would need, to the extent possible, to work with the State Board of Higher Education for Tennessee to identify all the enslaved people who labored on their properties.

It would take effect in the 2023-2024 academic year. The schools would not be allowed to pay for the reparations using state funding or any tuition or fee increases.

The country has been discussing reparations in one way or another since slavery officially ended in 1865.

In recent years, Georgetown University announced funding commitments to benefit descendants of enslaved people.

A majority of undergraduates voted in 2018 for a nonbinding referendum to pay a $57-per-semester “Reconciliation Contribution” toward projects in underprivileged communities that are home to some descendants of 300 slaves who were sold in 1846 to help pay off the school’s debts.

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