The University of East London’s School of Education was renamed the Cass School of Education and Communities in 2008 following a donation from the Sir John Cass's Foundation.
The Sir John Cass's Foundation, established in 1748, arose from the endowment of Sir John Cass whose wealth benefited from his engagement with the slave trade. Slavery is monstrous to us all and we cannot comprehend how cultures around the world have, during some point in history, considered this not to be morally bankrupt.
The mission of the Foundation is to promote the education of young people in London, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, through its grant programmes for individuals, educational institutions and organisations.
The University’s relationship with the Sir John Cass's Foundation has brought many benefits to our students over the years including a range of scholarships for those in hardship and contributes to the wider community with support to a variety of schools and universities.
Whilst attempting to make sense of modern philanthropic endeavours that have their historic origins in racist (or other hateful and corrupt) activity, we must ensure that any past institutional decisions are reflected upon and reviewed to enable us to fulfil our commitment to become an anti-racist institution.
Following consultation with our Black Academy and wider students and staff, we have removed the statue of Sir John Cass which was standing within the Education & Communities School Building. We will be instigating a University-wide review of all sources of historic funding together with the development of a new institutional naming policy reflecting our University values that puts equality, diversity and inclusion at the heart of our transformation strategy, Vision 2028.
The review will be chaired by an independent member of the University’s Board of Governors. The composition of this review will ensure it is representative of our whole community.