Union Treasurer resigns

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The Treasurer of the Oxford Union, Charles Malton, has resigned. 

Malton’s letter of resignation was addressed to all the elected members of the Standing Committee and the Returning Officer. In his letter of resignation, Charles Malton, a student at Christ Church, said, “I am saddened that an institution which I have held in such high regard, has become such a toxic environment”.

In his letter, he states that, “Two weeks ago I voted in favour of the Union paying for Ben Sullivan’s legal fees, believing that in doing so I was protecting the Union against rumours rather than what have now transpired to be formal allegations. I later made a speech defending this decision. These decisions were taken in good faith, but I now recognize that they were misguided.

“People are innocent until proven guilty and I have every hope that Ben will prove to be innocent. However, the way in which many within the Union have handled this situation over the last few weeks is not behaviour that I would wish to associate myself with, and in which I have played no part. As such I no longer feel comfortable continuing to be involved with this society.”

The resignation follows a week in which the Union has attracted national attention follwing the arrest of the Oxford Union President Ben Sullivan, on Wednesday, on suspicion of rape. Sullivan was later bailed without charge.

The President-elect of the Oxford Union, Mayank Banerjee, announced that he would be acting President until further notice on Thursday night at an Oxford Union debate. In a speech to the house, Banerjee said, “It would be useless for me to pretend that tonight is business as usual.” 

Malton’s resignation follows his defence of the Union Standing Committee’s original decision at the beginning of term to cover Ben Sullivan’s £1,200 legal expenses. He voted to withdraw the claim later that week, following Sullivan’s decision to cover his own fees. 

This follows the resignation of the Union Librarian Kostas Chryssanthopoulos last Saturday.

Mayank Banerjee, acting President of the Oxford Union, commented “It fills me with great regret to hear of Charles’ resignation. This has been an emotional time for everyone, and Charles has been a fantastic colleague and friend. The Oxford Union and I wish him all the best for the future”

“I would also like to clear up any ambiguity about the position of the President, Ben Sullivan. Following his arrest on Wednesday Ben and I decided that it would be best for me to take over much of the day to day running of the Union for the time being, to give him some time to consider his position. Although I am currently acting as President, I would like to stress that he has not at this stage stepped down.”

Charles Malton’s full letter:

Dear Mr Acting President,

I am writing with immense sadness to tender my resignation.

Two weeks ago I voted in favour of the Union paying for Ben Sullivan’s legal fees, believing that in doing so I was protecting the Union against rumours rather than what have now transpired to be formal allegations. I later made a speech defending this decision. These decisions were taken in good faith, but I now recognize that they were misguided.

People are innocent until proven guilty and I have every hope that Ben will prove to be innocent. However, the way in which many within the Union have handled this situation over the last few weeks is not behaviour that I would wish to associate myself with, and in which I have played no part. As such I no longer feel comfortable continuing to be involved with this society.

I am saddened that an institution which I have held in such high regard, has become such a toxic environment. I am only sorry that I did not tender my resignation earlier when I first became aware of how the situation was being handled.

I will not be seeking any further office within this organisation so I wish it the very best for the future.

Yours Sincerely,

Charles Malton

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