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Historic Sources of Funding Review Group share findings and recommendations

The report will support City’s ongoing work on challenging racism and advancing race equality.

by City Press Office (General enquiries)

Following the announcement on 9th June 2020 that Sir John Cass amassed some of his wealth through links with the slave trade, City launched a review into historic sources of funding to determine if there are any further links to slavery, and to confirm next steps.

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

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

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

Key findings

A copy of the full report is available to read on City’s website. Key findings from the report include that:

  • 'City, apart from its honouring of Sir John Cass, has no direct, or easily identifiable, association with African slavery... 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, p52)
  • ‘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 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, p21)

Key recommendations

Based on the findings and wider concerns, the Review group has made the following four key recommendations on how City can progress:

  • Communication: To share our understanding of our history and promote a conversation.
  • Conducting further research: To consider a further phase of research to support a more complete narrative of City’s ties to slavery.
  • Changing 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.

Alongside these principal recommendations, the group also recommended that City enhance its framework for accepting future donation and its process for naming buildings.

Council and City’s Executive Board are considering the recommendations and will be confirming City’s agreed actions in due course.

The process to change the name of the Business School is already in motion and further information can be found on the School’s website.

‘The opportunity now arises to make decisions about the future with eyes wider open. To decide what to keep, what to change and how to work towards restitution and to continue to honour the best humanitarian aims of the Northampton Institute’s founders.’ (Stallard, p44)

The full report is available to read here.

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