Our name change

As a business school, we’ve instigated change across the globe, equipping our students for the world they face today.

We are always evolving in our drive to constantly improve. One example of this is our new name.

Why we changed our name

In 2001, we accepted a large donation to fund our new building and agreed to adopt Sir John Cass’s name. We researched the Sir John Cass Foundation, which funds educational opportunities for underprivileged communities in East London. We regretfully did not look at the man who was the source of the Foundation’s wealth, and what taking his name might imply.

Why we believe this was important

Our name signals who we value and whose voice we judge as worthy of being heard. Sir John Cass worked directly for The Royal African Company, which was set up to organise and profit from the Atlantic slave trade.

Neither Cass’s philanthropy nor the passage of time will erase the suffering he caused and the persisting inequality that slavery has contributed to creating in the UK and across the world.

The exploitation of others through seemingly legitimate business practices remains a source of wealth for many individuals and corporations. As a Business School, we have a role to play in addressing this. Rejecting the name of a slave trader is a first step in that direction.

The name change process

We invited the City community to suggest names through an online platform, receiving over 500 submissions and more than 150 unique names. Over 8,000 members of staff, current and prospective students and alumni gave us feedback on the shortlist. Bayes Business School emerged as the clear favourite. Read about the outcomes of the consultation.

Why we chose Bayes

Thomas Bayes (1702-1761) was a theologian and mathematician – his final resting place is in Bunhill Fields, just across from the School. Bayes’ theorem suggests that we get closer to the truth by constantly updating our beliefs in proportion to the weight of new evidence. This aligns neatly with our core principles – that we should always be open to new information and act on it responsibly.
Bayes’ ideas are also central to the core disciplines of the Business School

What we are doing further to support diversity and inclusion

We have increased our focus on diversity, equity and inclusion at Bayes with a growing portfolio of scholarships for underrepresented students, alongside a programme of engaging initiatives to support inclusion.

In January 2022 Professor Lilian M de Menezes was appointed the first Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and is focused on embedding DEI both at the School and in our relationships with the wider community. For example, as part of addressing underrepresentation of Black students in the School, undergraduate scholarships for Black British students were launched and the first intake starts in the Autumn 2023. Regular inspirational visits from secondary school children, whose parents have not attended university and households are of low income, are being organized and provide a “taste of Bayes” and encourage participation in higher education.

Improving race equity is a priority for Bayes. Our Director for Race Equity and Inclusion Malla Pratt, supported by the School’s Racial Equity and Inclusion Network and advisory working Groups, is leading several projects to this aim.