An academic has criticised Glasgow University for making reparations for slavery.

The institution - whose landmark Gilmorehill building was partly funded by what would now be regarded as criminal proceeds - will today formally agreed to a £20m package of aid to the Caribbean.

As previously reported, this gesture came after the university investigated its own finances and discovered donations worth tens of millions of pounds in today's money from "tobacco lords".

Academic Joanna Williams, however, questioned the move. 

She said: "For me, the number one problem with this is that it suggests people who are alive today bear some historical responsibility for what their ancestors did in the past."

She condemned slavery as "truly barbaric and criminal acts" but added: "to suggest that people alive today are responsible for the sins of their ancestors is a step too far."

Speaking to BBC Scotland, she said: "It also suggests that other people who are alive today are victims of what happened to their ancestors. There comes a point we all need to move on from that and say that the past is the past."

READ MORE: How slavery made the modern Scotland

Earlier this month  a memorandum of understanding was signed at a ceremony yesterday in Jamaica for Glasgow University to fund a scheme at the University of the West Indies.

Those gathered in attendance watched as a simple stroke of the pen – and a shake of hands and a room full of smiles – did more in a single moment than had been done in the decades before to address the wrongs of the past.

The agreement between the two institutions will lead to the creation of the Glasgow-Caribbean Centre for Development Research.

It is a bold and ambitious plan that will expand with the £20m, to be raised by Glasgow University over 20 years, to fund the project.

READ MORE: Dark history linking slavery to nation’s historic buildings under the spotlight 

The centre itself will host events, sponsor research and co-ordinate academic collaborations between the universities.

It will also aim to raise public awareness of the history of slavery and its impact around the world so no one can forget its evils.

No-one involved is hiding, no-one shirking their past. If anything they are shouting about it, so no-one can ever forget.

After signing the Memorandum of Understanding in Kingston, the Jamaican capital, chief operating officer of the University of Glasgow, Dr David Duncan, described the ceremony as a “historic occasion” for the two universities.

Dr Duncan added: “When we commissioned our year-long study into the links the University of Glasgow had with historical slavery, we were conscious both of the proud part that Glasgow played in the abolitionist movement and an awareness that we would have benefited, albeit indirectly, from that appalling and heinous trade.

“From the very first we determined to be open, honest and transparent with the findings, and to produce a programme of reparative justice.

“In this we were greatly assisted by Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, vice-chancellor of the University of the West Indies, who was one of our external advisors.”

He added: “I am delighted that as a result of the report we are now able to sign a memorandum of understanding between the University of Glasgow and the UWI and I look forward to the many collaborative ventures.”

Professor Sir Hilary said he was “proud of the decision of the University of Glasgow to take this bold, moral, historic step” in recognising the slavery aspect of its past.

Another commemorative signing of the Memorandum of Understanding and the unveiling of a commemorative plaque in honour of the enslaved was scheduled to take place in Glasgow today.