An open letter has been written to Union President urging him to resign.
The letter was sent by Sarah Pine, OUSU VP Women, and Helen Dollimore, a History and Politics Student. Signatories include feminist writer and Wadham alumna Laurie Penny, OUSU President Elect Louis Trup, OUSU VP Women Elect Anna Bradshaw, feminist and Keble alumna Caroline Criado-Perez and OUSU Women’s Campaigns Officer, Lucy Delaney.
The letter states: “Last week, President Ben Sullivan returned to his role as President of the Union following his arrest earlier this month. This is despite being under ongoing investigation by the police for rape and attempted rape. Though he has not been charged, he remains on bail.
“In order to recognise the severity of these allegations and protect the reputation of the society, Mr Sullivan should step aside while still under investigation.”
Sullivan told The OxStu: “At this point I am unable to comment on what is an ongoing 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”
Pine and Dollimore told The New Statesman that they have contacted 30 Union speakers and urged them to pull out. Thus far only one, Human Rights Watch’s David Mepham, has cancelled their speaking engagement.
The letter also alleges Sullivan “previously attempted to use union funds to finance his legal actions against the press. This is a misuse of his office and makes a mockery of the society’s core principle of freedom of speech.”
Sullivan responded “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.”