Glasgow Uni admits it earned £200m from slave trade profits

Glasgow are the first UK uni to investigate and take responsibility for their part in Britain’s long legacy of slavery

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The University of Glasgow has just come out as the first UK university to investigate and admit their part in profiting from Britain’s long historic legacy of slavery. An extensive internal investigation has revealed the uni profited by up to £200m from slavery-funded donations received in the 18th and 19th centuries, despite claiming many of its staff ‘adopted a clear anti-slavery position’ during the era. A ‘reparative justice programme’ is set to be launched in the near future.

Until the years following the Slavery Abolition Act in 1833,  millions of Africans were bought, sold and traded as slaves throughout America and Europe to work as labourers in plantations and other agricultural industries, often under extreme fear of physical  torture or even death by their masters.

The beautiful 567-year-old University of Glasgow campus, complete with majestic cloisters and infamous clock tower, is an iconic symbol of pride and history for generations of Scottish people. However, recent revelations have shown the well-loved institution received high levels of financial support from donors with links to the New World slave trade throughout the 1800s, including huge sums for bursaries and endowments.

After the University itself conducted a yearlong, in-depth investigation to determine the full extent of slave-profited donations from wealthy donors, it is estimated the total figure received is between £16.7m and £198m. The University acknowledges it ‘received significant financial gifts and support from people who derived some, or much, of their wealth from slavery.’

In response, the University has introduced the “reparative justice” (RJP) programme. The RJP will welcome a centre for the study of slavery, giving students a chance to study the once hushed industry, whilst commemorating the memory of those African people who were enslaved with a new tribute which will be displayed on campus.

Glasgow University Principal Prof Sir Anton Muscatelli said: “The university deeply regrets this association with historical slavery which clashes with our proud history of support for the abolition of both the slave trade and slavery itself.” (BBC)

For more information, visit the University of Glasgow website here