A large proportion of the crowd walked out during Anna Fendi’s talk at the Oxford Union last Friday due to the event over-running, and the Union not publicising that she would be speaking Italian with a translator.

One student also told Cherwell that she was invited to meet Fendi before the event but could not ask any questions as her translator was not there.

Many students attended Fendi’s talk, hoping to hear her speak about her rise to fame as an Italian fashion designer and entrepreneur. Fendi created the luxury fashion house Fendi with her sisters and was the first Italian woman to win the IWF Hall of Fame Award.

A large proportion of the crowd walked out towards the end, after Fendi’s speech overran by 20 minutes. Her translator told her to conclude her speech when the event was supposed to end.

This meant that many of the crowd left before the Union President asked if anyone had any further questions. Speaking to Cherwell, students said that it was “unfair” that no one told her to stop her speech sooner.

Students leaving the event early were also angered that Fendi spoke entirely in Italian. The Union did not publicise this fact beforehand on their event or on their term card. Although there was a translator, there were short intervals of silence in order for her translator to translate her speech.

One student who attended the event told Cherwell that the use of a translator, “made it harder to focus. I wouldn’t have gone if I had known, because it wasn’t particularly a relaxing break!”

The Oxford Union has been contacted for comment.


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