Image credits: Ian Wallman
For years, Trinity College has been making strides to improve the diversity of its community. We are conscious that there is still much work to be done, not only in continuing to ensure Trinity continues to welcome and foster a diverse body of students and staff, but also in addressing the whole of its history, which includes illustrious alumni, ground-breaking research activity, and also deep flaws – particularly in terms of the role it has played in transnational racial history.
To this end, Trinity has begun a research project to look into the lives of individuals who had connections with the Atlantic slave trade and its legacies. It is a matter of public record that nine individuals who were matriculated students at Trinity between 1759 and 1834 were also owners of enslaved persons. Beginning with records relating to these individuals, the College has appointed a researcher who, alongside the Fellow Archivist and College Archivist, will investigate whether any slave owners were also benefactors of the College.
This project is part of a larger undertaking to address the College’s position in relation to questions of race and colonialism, and our ongoing attention to black, Asian and minority ethnic experience in the student body. In the summer of 2020, Trinity’s Governing Body approved a working group - the Race and Inclusivity Action Group - to ensure that Trinity is a place where our behaviour, policies and culture are consistent with our values and where racism of any kind is not tolerated. This group is drawn from a wide cross-section of our community, including the JCR, MCR, SCR and staff, as well as those in key roles with responsibilities for supporting our equalities and access policies and procedures. Its aim is to take forward a set of projects and actions that will measurably improve our ability to embed race equality, combat discrimination, hold ourselves to account, and address some of the areas where we do not yet represent in practice what we aspire to in our values.
By opening up aspects of our past whilst we look at the present and future of the College, we aim to enable reflection and positive action towards a more fully inclusive and equal culture.