The Union are being urged to drop the term's highest-profile speaker in a petition led by the CUSU Women's Campaign.
The CUSU Women’s Campaign has called for Dominique Strauss-Kahn to be disinvited to the Union Society.
Strauss-Kahn is due to address the Society on March 9th, but the Women’s Campaign has urged the Union to withdraw the invitation in an online petition.
The former IMF head quit his position after a New York hotel maid accused him of rape 2011. He has been at the centre of a media frenzy for months and is currently being held by French police investigating a prostitution ring.
The Women’s Campaign accuses the Union committee of a “callous desire to exploit gender crime allegations in the service of controversy.”
“The political decision to host DSK feeds an existent culture of silence and shame around rape, in which alleged perpetrators are given a platform mostly denied to survivors of sexual violence.”
“Free speech is about more than inviting rich, white, powerful (in this case allegedly rapist[sic]) men to define the Union’s termcard year after year.”
The petition has gathered over 240 signatures so far, including someone calling himself Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
Union Society President Katie Lam told The Tab that “The Union stands for free speech and providing a neutral platform for it.
“Inviting any speaker doesn’t imply endorsement or indeed disapproval. The only criterion that we consider is whether a speaker will be interesting for our members or not.”
Asked about the claims that rich, white and powerful men consistently make up the Union termcard, Katie said that “the proportion of female speakers has more than doubled. This year is one of the highest proportions we’ve ever had.”
It’s not the first time The Union has faced a backlash for a controversial invitation. Tory Minister Eric Pickles received an angry welcome when anti-cuts protesters stormed the Union last year during his speech.
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