Interpol’s Secretary-General has cancelled his speech at the Union citing concerns about President Ben Sullivan.
Ronald Noble, who took office in 2000, said: “I am the Secretary General of Interpol, a law professor and a former prosecutor who fiercely believes that a person is innocent until proven guilty. “What should the head of a society like the Oxford Union do if he is under investigation for rape and attempted rape?
“In my view, he should be guided by the best interests of his organization. He should not be guided by his own interests. In this case my advice to Ben Sullivan would be either to resign or take a leave of absence until the criminal investigation has been completed.
Noble continued: “Interpol has attempted to contact the Oxford Union since reports of the allegations against Ben Sullivan first surfaced. We have received no response to our enquiries.
“Consequently I have decided to withdraw my participation as a speaker at the Oxford Union on Friday 30 May 2014.”
This follows a campaign initiated by Helena Dollimore and Sarah Pine urging Union speakers to cancel. It was accompanied by an open letter calling for Sullivan’s resignation.
Sullivan responded to Nobel’s statment: “In due course the details and context of these allegations will become public knowledge. Unfortunately, as this is an on-going police investigation I am not able to provide my side of the story.
The reasons why I have not resigned will soon be clear for all to see. My return to Oxford was not motivated by self-interest, but a deep concern for the long-term future of the Society.”
A fresher at Magdalen commented: “The only person bringing the Union (and indeed OUSU) into disrepute are Pine and Dollimore.”