The Cass Business School in London will change its name in the light of the widespread global protests against black discrimination that followed the death of George Floyd in the US.
The business school, which is part of the City University of London, runs highly-regarded master's and post-graduate shipping commerce and finance courses, and is also the host of the Costas Grammenos Centre for Shipping, Trade and Finance.
It was named the Cass Business School 18 years ago after receiving a donation from the Sir John Cass Foundation, an educational charity.
But, after a review of its historic sources of funding, it has emerged that John Cass made part of his fortune in the slave trade. He was a director of the Royal African Co, which was involved in trading enslaved people, and he continued to be a shareholder in the outfit until he died.
In a statement, the school said that, after consultation with stakeholders, it would stop using the name Cass because of the links to the slave trade. It said the decision was “unanimous”.
“The foundation was established in 1748 and is named after Sir John Cass, whose wealth was used posthumously to create the educational charity,” the statement said.
“We acknowledge the great pain 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,” said Julia Palca, chair of the City University’s council.
“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.”
The school will temporarily be named City’s Business School until a new name is decided.