Universities that benefited from the slave trade should contribute to a £100 million fund to support ethnic minority students, the head of a London university said yesterday.
Geoff Thompson, the chairman of governors at the University of East London, said that it would be “ethical and right” for universities to contribute to a fund to support black and ethnic minority students across the UK.
He told the BBC that universities should “seize this historic opportunity to invest in those who cannot afford or see themselves graduating with a life-changing qualification”.
His institution has sent out freedom of information requests to British universities to see if they had received money from the slave trade between the 16th and 19th centuries, with the findings to be assessed next month.
Mr Thompson said that even more modern universities could be offshoots of older institutions that enriched themselves through slavery.
“Every university has historians, archivists and researchers who can help inform them about their past,” he said. “It is about how seriously we take the past to inform our future, and what we can do to help change lives.”
Glasgow University said last month that it had received slave-related funding. It announced a “reparative justice programme”, including a centre for the study of slavery and a memorial.