Union President writes open letter to speakers

first_img[mm-hide-text]%%IMG_ORIGINAL%%9802%%[/mm-hide-text] Union President Ben Sullivan has sent an open letter to this term’s speakers encouraging them to appear at their agreed events. In the letter addressed to General Petreaus and Paloma Faith amongst others, Sullivan said, “The Union was founded on the principles of free speech and debate. This core belief in the opportunity for everyone to put forward their point of view still represents the ultimate purpose of the institution. This overarching principle remains more important than any individual speaker, any debate, and any President.” Sullivan pointed out, “Acting upon legal advice, I am not yet able to give my side of the story. As such I currently do not even have the ability to defend myself from these allegations which I deny”He continued, “Under British law, a person is innocent until proven guilty. This principle governs British society and for the President of the Union to subvert it would be to act against everything the institution stands for. If there is one place where an allegation must be treated as just an allegation, then it is in this Society.”In reference to this Thursday’s no-confidence motion, which was proposed by over 30 Union members and will be debated in front of the House, Sullivan said, “I feel the calls for my resignation are premature”. However, he did state, “Should the situation change I will of course review my position” The letter comes after an open letter from OUSU Vice President for Women Sarah Pine and Helena Dollimore, which called on this term’s speakers to consider withdraw from planned Union events. Human rights activist and nobel Prize-winner Tawakkol Karman subsequently announced on Channel 4 that she was pulling out of the Union’s term card.In turn, A.C. Grayling wrote an open letter to Pine defending his decision to speak on 22nd May, stating “I simply cannot, in all conscience, allow myself to act only on the basis of allegations and suspicions, or of conviction by the kangaroo court of opinion, or trial by the press.” last_img