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Cambridge Uni investigates its ties to slavery, prompting both praise & disapproval on social media

Cambridge Uni investigates its ties to slavery, prompting both praise & disapproval on social media
The decision by Cambridge University to launch an inquiry into whether they profited from and contributed to the slave trade has received a mixed reception online, from: “it’s the only way forward” to “it’s time to move on.”

The world-renowned British academic institution has revealed it will conduct a rigorous two-year investigation that will seek to “acknowledge its role during that dark phase of human history.” It will look at how they may have benefited from forced slave labour during the colonial era, through gifts and donations.

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Professor Stephen Toope, the university’s vice-chancellor, claimed that there was a growing public and academic interest in the links between Britain’s universities and the slave trade.

… it is only right that Cambridge should look into its own exposure to the profits of coerced labour during the colonial period.

The move has been welcomed by many on social media who insist the wounds of that period in time still reverberate today in the 21st century. Labour MP David Lammy took to Twitter to insist that “Contrition and atonement for of a grievous wrong is the only way to face the future.”

Another Twitter user @NickWrack argued that “understanding the past” will help people learn “how we got to where we are today."

However, the move also faces a backlash with some making the case that it was time to look to the future and not dwell on the past, accusing backers of the inquiry of “virtue signalling.”

@5helloil tweeted, somewhat sarcastically, that he was contemplating “suing the Scandinavians for their Viking misdemeanours in England. Where does this self flagellation end?”

The report is expected to “recommend appropriate ways” for Cambridge to acknowledge any such links and their impact on contemporary life, the university said.

It comes amidst a wider “decolonise” movement has been sweeping universities in Britain in recent years.

In November 2017, Students at Liverpool University called for the name of former British PM William Gladstone to be removed from a residence hall, as they said he fell short of wholeheartedly fighting for the abolition of slavery.

In July last year, a poem by renowned 19th century writer Rudyard Kipling was scrubbed off the walls of Manchester University’s student union amid claims his literature “dehumanised people of colour” and that he was an apologist for British colonialism.

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