The Oxford Union erupted into civil war tonight after Librarian Kostas Chryssanthopoulos stormed out of the weekly chamber motion and accused President Ben Sullivan of “shutting down debate” and lying to members.
Chryssanthopoulos delivered the remarks in a speech he gave in place of his Librarian’s report.
The Librarian told the chamber: “I joined the Oxford Union because I believe in free speech and open debate. However, free and open debate over the President’s legal expenses has been blocked.”
Chryssanthopoulos was referring to the recent dispute over the Union funding Sullivan’s legal proceedings against The Tab. Sullivan, in response, agreed to pay the fees himself.
Kostas continued: “Committee members have told me not to air the Union’s dirty linen in public. I think the President has been cowardly in avoiding the difficult questions”.
Chryssanthopoulos finished by declaring “I can not sit next to a president who has shut down debate, lied to members and misused members’ money”. His comments received a round of applause.
Immediately after this speech, Treasurer Charles Malton leapt to Sullivan’s defence. Malton argued the legal fees were necessary to “defend the Union against claims that were incredibly damaging, incredibly serious and incredibly untrue”.
Malton added that as Sullivan had agreed to pay the legal fees himself, further debate was unnecessary.
Malton sat down to applause after stating “We are a Union that believes in free speech”.
The dispute comes just after a Special Adjournment and the resignation of Standing Committee member, Kat Connolly.