City, University of London has announced that its Business School will no longer be known as Cass Business School.
The decision was taken by City’s Council on 3 July, following a broad consultation about the fact that some of Sir John Cass’ wealth was obtained though his links to the slave trade and taking account of the views expressed by a wide range of stakeholders.
The decision, which was unanimous, was taken on the basis that continued use of the Cass name was incompatible with City’s values of diversity and inclusion.
The Business School was renamed the Sir John Cass Business School 18 years ago, following a donation from the Sir John Cass Foundation.
The Foundation was established in 1748 and is named after Sir John Cass, whose wealth was used posthumously to create the educational charity.
For now, the school will be referred to as City’s Business School while consultations about a new name are set in motion.
Making the announcement, Julia Palca, chair of City’s Council, said: “We acknowledge the great pain and hurt caused to members of our City and Business School community and to many black people by the association of the school’s name with the slave trade.
“Any continued use of Sir John Cass’ name would be seen as condoning someone whose wealth in part derived from the exploitation of slavery. This is incompatible with our values of diversity and inclusivity. We have therefore taken the decision to remove the name.”
Professor Sir Paul Curran, university president, added: “The announcement of our decision to change the name of City’s Business School by no means marks the end of the issue. The work we are doing to address racial inequality and to ensure City is an inclusive place to work and study will continue.
“We have listened to the concerns of the City community about the naming of the Business School and we have also heard about their individual experiences of racism and inequality in today’s world.”
On 10 June, City initiated a review of all historic sources of funding to determine if there are any other links with slavery; and to make recommendations.
The review is chaired by Hunada Nouss, a member of City’s Council. The composition is drawn from a diverse group of City staff and external independent expertise. The review is expected to report in August.
Professor Paolo Volpin, interim Dean at City’s Business School, said: “This is the right decision but it is just the first step. It is important that we follow it up with clear and measurable actions that demonstrate our commitment to racial equality and inclusion.
“The school’s BAME community is leading a consultation to explore how we can increase inclusion across our School community in practical and measurable ways to ensure we celebrate uniqueness and work harder to enhance our vibrant sense of belonging.”