The Cass of the City, University of London is renamed Bayes Business School

In July 2020, the Business School committed to changing its name after it was found that some of Sir John Cass’s wealth was obtained through his links to the slave trade. The decision to select Bayes Business School was based on a comprehensive and transparent consultation process with relevant stakeholders. We invited the City community to suggest names through an online platform, generating more than 150 potential names. Over 8,000 members of staff and current and prospective Business School students and alumni gave us feedback on the shortlisted names. Bayes Business School emerged as the clear favourite.

Thomas Bayes (1702-1761) was a nonconformist theologian and mathematician best known for his foundational work on conditional probability. His grave is in Bunhill Fields, opposite the Business School.  Bayes’ theorem suggests that we get closer to the truth by constantly updating our beliefs in proportion to the weight of new evidence. It is this idea – not only the person – that is the motivation behind adopting this name.  Bayes’ ideas are central to Finance, Actuarial Science and many branches of Management, the core disciplines of the Business School. They are also the foundation of artificial intelligence and machine learning. The new name will formally launch on Monday 6th September 2021 – the beginning of the 2021/22 academic year. Until this point, the School will continue to be referred to as ‘The Business School (formerly Cass)’.

Professor Paolo Volpin, Dean of the Business School (formerly Cass), said: 

“In Bayes Business School, we believe we now have a name that reflects who we are and the values we hold.  Even though Bayes lived a long time ago, his ideas and his name are very much connected to the future rather than the past.

“More than 8,000 staff, Business School students and alumni contributed to the consultation process to help us find our new name. We are very grateful for their passionate contribution. We have listened to all of our stakeholders carefully and taken their concerns seriously. “I am proud of the new name and the steps we are taking to build a truly inclusive environment for all of our students, staff and alumni.”

Ms Julia Palca, Chair of City’s Council said: 

“The Bayes theorem matters for our Business School – we are located in the heart of a financial centre, a tech centre and one of the great cosmopolitan cities of the world.  “His ideas remind us that we want our Bayes Business School students to become business leaders who can think clearly about the uncertain future we face. “Continued use of Sir John Cass’s name would have honoured someone whose wealth was augmented from the exploitation of slavery, which is wholly incompatible with our values of diversity and inclusion.”

Professor Sir Paul Curran, President, City, University of London, said: 

“The renaming of the Business School marks the start of a new chapter in City’s history, but certainly not the end of our work to address racial inequality.

“Last summer, City embarked on a review of historic sources of funding to learn lessons from the past. We have been listening to our community and are pursuing actions to ensure that City is a diverse and inclusive place to work and study.

“These actions go beyond simply changing a name and are intended to improve our curriculum and the lives of our University community.”

Changing more than a name

The University has committed to addressing issues surrounding inequality and opportunity, particularly around race and ethnicity.

City has committed to funding five PhD scholarships for Black British students each year (one for each of City’s five Schools, including the Business School) and further details will be announced shortly.

Other important work at City has included applying for Advance HE’s Race Equality Charter status, continuing to address the Degree Awarding Gap, and working in partnership with students and our Students’ Union to address issues of underrepresentation.

The Business School will also launch a significant scholarship programme for Black UK-domiciled undergraduate students to improve underrepresentation within the School. This programme will run for ten years from 2022/23 and offer ten scholarships per year, covering all tuition fees and an annual stipend.

The Business School has established a Diversity and Inclusion Council to cover all aspects of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion work. It has also formed a Racial Equity and Inclusion Advisory Group, comprising students, faculty, professional staff and alumni from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME*) backgrounds, who are working to improve student and staff progression and experience.

Significant work is also underway at the Business School to further embed ethical and socially responsible values into the curriculum. The School’s aim is to develop responsible business leaders who will build a thriving, equitable, and sustainable future.

Find out more

Read more about the process that was undertaken to select a new name, and find out further information on the FAQs page.

About the School

The Business School (formerly Cass) is a leading global Business School driven by world-class knowledge, innovative education and a vibrant community.  The School has been at the forefront of business education for over 50 years, developing leaders who help businesses thrive through change and uncertainty.

Located in the heart of one of the world’s top financial centres, the School has strong links to both the City of London and the thriving entrepreneurial hub of Tech City. The faculty are experts in their fields, producing cutting-edge research with real-world impact.  The last Research Excellence Framework results assessed 84 per cent of its research to be world-leading or internationally excellent. The School educates nearly 4,000 students each year on globally renowned courses across all levels of study including undergraduate, postgraduate and Executive Education.  On graduating, students join a strong alumni community of more than 48,000 in more than 160 countries.

In April 2021, the decision was taken to rename the School as Bayes Business School from September 2021, after a full consultation process. This followed the University’s announcement in July 2020 that the Cass name would be removed after the news that some of Sir John Cass’s wealth was obtained though his links to the slave trade, and that this was incompatible with City’s values of diversity and inclusion.

The School had carried the Cass name between 2002 and 2020 after a donation from the Sir John Cass Foundation, an educational charity which has now been renamed The Portal Trust.

A short biography of Thomas Bayes and his theorem is available here.

The latest City, University of London Staff and Student Equality Monitoring Report (2019/20) is available here and includes reporting on ethnicity (section three, from page 12 onwards).

Following the decision to change name of the Business School, a promise of changing more than a name has been made in response to the different stakeholder perspectives on the name change. Among the actions approved by the School Executive Committee, of primary importance is addressing underrepresentation in the School.  We will shortly launch a scholarship programme for Black UK-domiciled undergraduate students.  This programme will run over a ten-year period and offer ten scholarships per year for covering tuition fee (at home-fee level) and a £6,000 annual stipend for three years.  It will launch for the 2021/22 academic year.

The total cost of the programme (amounting to about £5 million in total) will be funded from the School’s scholarship budget. The design of the scheme is deliberate in that it represents the amount of money that the School received from the Cass Foundation (now renamed the Portal Trust) in 2001. This programme is therefore aligned with the reparation principle set out as one recommendation of the Review of Historic Funding which reported in 2020.

The aim of the scholarship programme is to achieve greater racial diversity in the School, and respond to our different stakeholders, who have consistently expressed their belief that the money should be returned to the Cass Foundation. The scholarships also underline the School’s commitment to responsible management education, and its role as a UN PRME Champion.

School Inclusion Council

The School has formed an Inclusion Council to progress and oversee our work in equality and inclusion which includes ensuring diversity, equality and inclusion for all.

The Inclusion Council has 22 members from across the School and is co-chaired by Dr Sionade Robinson, Associate Dean for People and Culture, with a second co-chair to be announced shortly.

Release: Ida Junker, Senior international consultant, PPOOL media – communications, Paris


Leave a Reply