Imperial College Union’s departmental society for geology, the De La Beche Society, will be changing its name in line with the society’s values of equality and inclusivity.
Named after Henry De La Beche, a geologist and palaeontologist who contributed to the founding of the Royal School of Mines, the society has decided to distance itself from De La Beche’s legacy as slaveowner and to temporarily change its name to Imperial College Geology Society.
De La Beche, who ran a slave plantation, represented views that downplayed the inhumanity of slave trade. The society takes a strong stance for its inclusive and equal culture and, whilst continuing to value De La Beche’s academic contributions, has decided to alter its name to reflect Imperial College Union’s and the society’s values of an inclusive community that fosters as sense of belonging for everyone.
Over the coming months, a public consultation will be run in the Department of Earth Science and Engineering to gather ideas for a new permanent name.