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Last updated: 11 Nov 2020 9:55am

Update on the outcome of the Historic Sources of Funding Review Group's work

Published Friday, 20th November, 2020 in University news

City launched the review to determine if there are any further links to slavery and to confirm next steps, following the announcement on 9th June 2020 that Sir John Cass amassed some of his wealth through links with the slave trade. City, University of London’s business school was renamed Cass Business School in 2002 following a donation from the Sir John Cass Foundation.

The review forms part of City’s work on equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) and our focus on advancing race equality and challenging racism, particularly in the context of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Conducting the research

The Review panel, chaired by Hunada Nous and including Academic and Professional Services staff from across the University, oversaw the appointment of an independent academic, Dr Matthew Stallard, to conduct the research and an independent senior academic with expertise in the field, Professor Richard Drayton, to oversee and advise on the research.

The University’s Council has now received and endorsed a report from the Historic Sources of Funding Review Group having the Executive Board, leading on taking the recommendations forward.

Key findings from the report

  • ‘City, apart from its honouring of Sir John Cass, has no direct, or easily identifiable, association with African slavery. Second, however, that African slavery played a significant part in making possible the land, gifts, support and patronage which underpinned City and its antecedent institutions.’ (Drayton p 52)
  • 'The links between City’s donors and enslavement are in many senses representative of the complex intertwining of the financial and mercantile sectors and the public and private institutions of the City of London across some three hundred years of its history, and the embeddedness of slave-trading, ownership of plantations and enslaved persons, and the trading of slave-produced goods within this system.’ (Stallard p 21)

You can read the full report here

Key recommendations

  • Communicate: To share our understanding of our history and promote a conversation.
  • Further research: To consider a further phase of research to support a more complete narrative of City’s ties to slavery.
  • Change the Business School name
  • Reparation: To demonstrate meaningful institutional commitment to racial equality at City by taking a proactive approach to recognising and understanding the ways in which racial inequality manifests itself at City

The group has also made some additional recommendations to Council based on relevant discussions in the wider context to enhance City’s framework for accepting future donations and process for the naming of buildings.

Next steps

City has already begun work to change the name of the Business School and will be providing opportunities for students to share their views on a new name. You can find further information about the process on the School’s website.

City welcomes you the opportunity to make these decisions as they are now considering how to take these recommendations forward.