22 Apr 2021 15:33 IST

Cass to be renamed as Bayes B-school

Institution to be renamed after mathematician Thomas Bayes as Sir John Cass’s link with slave trade comes out

In July 2020, the B-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 the relevant stakeholders. They 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, prospective students, and alumni gave feedback on the shortlisted names. Bayes Business School emerged as the clear favourite.

The new name will formally launch on September 6, 2021 — the beginning of the academic year.

Story behind the name

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 which form the core disciplines of the B-school. They are also the foundation of artificial intelligence and machine learning.

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.

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.”

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 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 under-representation.

The B-school will also launch a significant scholarship programme for Black UK-domiciled undergraduate students to improve under-representation 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.