Union speakers announced amidst furious student media war

News

The Oxford Union’s speaker list for Trinity Term has now been officially released, along with an announcement of the major debates taking place.

Despite Cherwell supposedly being granted the rights to an exclusive release list, The Oxford Tab published a version of the speakers online on 18th April, several days before the planned release.

The Oxford Tab have since been forced to revise the published list, following errors including the wrongful announcement of Anjem Choudary, a radical Muslim cleric, as one of the speakers for this term. Although Choudary spoke publicly about an invitation from The Oxford Union during the vacation period, the Union have confirmed that he is not scheduled on their termcard. The current dates and times for Union events provided are provisional, and the official termcard is expected to be released soon.

Highlights of the announced speakers in the official list later published by the Cherwell include Hilary Swank, Piers Morgan, Peter Thiel, Brian Lara, and Alexandra Shulman, as well as major debates covering topics including the election, the tobacco industry and Britain’s place in the EU.

The list of major speakers is notable for the inclusion of several actors and entertainers. Hilary Swank, the Oscar-winning American star of Boys Don’t Cry and Million Dollar Baby, is expected to come on May 13th with Nicola Benedetti, the accomplished young Scottish violinist appearing at the Union on Monday of 1st week. Other entertainers listed include Dynamo, the illusionist known for walking on the Thames, and actor Warwick Davis.

Other important guests will be major media personalities. Piers Morgan, the polarizing tabloid editor and US television host speaks on May 12. His latest CNN show was cancelled in 2014 amidst plummeting ratings, and he is currently US editor-at-large for The Mail Online. Bill Maher, American comedian, political commentator, and host of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher joins the Union on the 25th of May. He has attracted controversy in recent years for statements about Islam, and was unsuccessfully disinvited as a University of California Berkeley commencement speaker in 2014.

Following fashion magazine Vogue editor Anna Wintour’s popular visit last term, the editor of British Edition, Alexandra Shulman will be speaking on May 27. She has held the role of Editor-in-Chief since 1992, and has also written as a columnist for The Daily Telegraph and The Daily Mail.

The term will also bring visits by cricket star Brian Lara, billionaire Silicon Valley capitalist Peter Thiel, playwright Simon Armitage, and Australian F1 driver Mark Webber.

PHOTO/The Oxford Union