Laurie Penny and LJ Trup join campaign for Ben Sullivan to resign

Students and public figures sign open letter calling for Oxford Union president to resign

Laurie Penny is among a group of high profile figures calling on Union president Ben Sullivan to resign.

According the New Statesman, OUSU Women’s Officer Sarah Pine and St Hilda’s student Helena Dollimore have written to around 30 upcoming speakers at the Union urging them to consider withdrawing their scheduled appearances.

Those contacted included singer Paloma Faith, New Statesman editor Jason Cowley, Newton Investment CEO Helena Morrissey, MEP and former Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt and Baroness Lawrence.

Columnist Laurie Penny is amongst those who have backed the campaign

Human rights’ activist David Mepham has reportedly agreed to pull out of his Union appearance after being approached by Pine and Dollimore.

Pine and Dollimore have also written an open letter to Ben Sullivan urging him to resign. The letter has been signed by high profile figures included journalist Laurie Penny and Caroline Criado-Perez.

The Tab has chosen not to publish or link to the letter because we feel some of its contents could be in contempt of court and affect Sullivan’s right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

A number of senior students at Oxford have also added their signatures, including OUSU president elect LJ Trup and OUSU Women’s Officer elect, Anna Bradshaw.

Pine says it is a “push for equality in the Union”. She told the New Statesman she decided to contact most of the Union’s booked speakers because they “wouldn’t have been aware of the situation and might not have been aware of the students’ feelings around it”.

But she admitted “there are differences in opinion” about whether or not Sullivan should resign.

Union president Ben Sullivan

Dollimore added: “Ordinary students are just getting quite fed up at the Oxford Union and the press it’s generating, the reputation it’s generating, the message it’s sending out about our university.”

Ben Sullivan was arrested in connection with an alleged rape and attempted rape. He was released without charge and is currently on bail.

He denies the allegations, and recently told the Oxford Union: “As you may be aware no charges have been brought against me and I have the utmost faith in the police and Crown Prosecution Service and the British legal system as a whole. I know that sooner or later the truth will prevail and justice will be served.”