hen the camera enters the chapel, the wall where the memorial to Jesus benefactor Tobias Rustat normally hangs is emptyScreenshot: Juliette Guéron-Gabrielle/Timur Rhakimov

A memorial to a Jesus College benefactor with links to slavery has been removed from an official promotional video for the University, that has since been taken down.

The video, entitled “Come to the Cambridge Undergraduate Open Days 2022!” showed a tour of Jesus College. When the camera enters the chapel, the wall where the memorial to Jesus benefactor Tobias Rustat normally hangs is empty.

Tobias Rustat, one of the College’s biggest benefactors, was an investor in both the Royal African Company and the Royal Adventurers, corporations that trafficked and traded enslaved Africans.

The video was published on the official University of Cambridge Facebook page this afternoon (30/5) but was taken down at 9:30pm. A new version, with the memorial out of shot but not blurred out, was uploaded yesterday (31/5). 

When approached for comment, a University spokesperson told Varsity: “A video was posted in error on our social media channels and we have taken it down while we investigate further.”

The wall of the chapel is blurred where the memorial should beScreenshot: Juliette Guéron-Gabrielle

The Rustat memorial was at the centre of controversy earlier this year when Jesus College petitioned the diocese of Ely to have it removed.

The College argued that it was necessary to remove the marble memorial from the chapel for it to be a “welcoming Christian community”, and that the monument could be properly contextualised in an exhibition space elsewhere in College.

The church court ruled to keep the memorial in March (23/3). The judge overseeing the case, David Hodge QC, found that the College’s case was based on the “false narrative” that Rustat “had amassed much of his wealth from the slave trade, and that it was money from this source that he used to benefit the college”.


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Church court rules to keep Rustat memorial in Jesus College chapel

Jesus College chose to not appeal against the decision but criticised the church for not “understanding” black Britons.

The master of the College, Sonita Alleyne, has said that a growing number of students were boycotting the chapel.

The University of Cambridge began an inquiry into its links with slavery in 2019 and Jesus College set up a Legacy of Slavery Working Party that year.