Glossing over the horrors of its 1838 sale of 272 people undermines whatever good intention the university might have had.
The question and main issue at hand here is how the university can truly provide honorable reparations and apologies. The fact is that the slave trade dealt with human lives; selling and buying humans as if they were goods. There really is no comparable form of recompense. That is what the university is facing and must face for the duration of its existence.
Even more so, it is designated as a Jesuit university and its prides itself on its commitment to Jesuit values. Selling hundreds of innocent people in order to continue on questions both that commitment, which is the very core of the institution, and to larger extent the values, as Georgetown in theory acts with those in mind.
The one positive (if that is possible) aspect of this generation-long pain is that it is a start to healing, albeit a centuries long ( if not more) one at that. The institution is starting to come to terms with what it has done. In terms of questioning whether it truly understands what it is apologizing for, it would be relatively unlikely for the university to even begin to face the descendants of the slaves and ask for forgiveness if it did not understand the gravity and horror it brought upon their ancestors and them. In other words, it does not seem to be a blank apology.
Then again, it could have been forced to recognize its past dealings.
Source: For Georgetown to apologize for slavery, it must be clear about what it was – The Washington Post