Oxford students have written an open letter calling for the Oxford Union President, Ben Sullivan, to resign. The letter appeared on the website of the New Statesman, but was subsequently taken down for legal reasons.
The letter follows accusations of rape and attempted rape against Ben Sullivan. Sullivan was taken in for questioning by Police on Wednesday 7th May. He was later released on bail and without charge on the same day.
Students who have signed the letter include OUSU Vice-president for Women Sarah Pine, former OULC co-chair Helena Dollimore, and President-elect of OUSU Louis Trup , as well as OUSU Vice-president elect Anna Bradshaw and OUSU Women’s campaign officer Lucy Delaney.
Other signatories of the letter include journalist Laurie Penny and feminist activist Caroline Criado-Perez.
According to the New Statesman, Pine and Dollimore have also contacted around 30 upcoming speakers at the Union, calling for them to reconsider attending.
A preamble to the letter states that it is “open to all members of the Oxford community” who wish to sign it.
Reference is made, in the letter, to the attempt by Sullivan to use Union funds to help pay his legal fees. An extraordinary meeting of the Union’s Standing Committee was subsequently held to withdraw the motion.
The letter concludes by saying that Sullivan should not remain in office.
History and politics student Helena Dollimore, who signed and helped write the letter, commented, “We decided to organise the open letter and speaker boycott because we believe the current situation is untenable.”
Oxford Union President Ben Sullivan commented, “ I have at no point ‘misused Union funds’. I was advised by our Trustees to contact lawyers because they believed an article about me, which contained a number of claims, was damaging to the reputation of the Union.
“These claims were not primarily related to membership of the ‘Banter Squadron’ (which is clearly not a real drinking society) and involved other claims including the claim that I somehow opposed the Union’s harassment policy which I helped to write. I have since agreed to pay the fees myself despite the fact that these funds were passed through the correct channels and that our Trustees still do not believe I should have to pay.
“At this point I am unable to comment on what is an on-going police investigation. However, as I said last week in the Chamber, I have the utmost faith in the English legal system and know that justice will be served.”