Exclusive: Union Bags Wikileaks Founder Assange

Wikileaks founder and whistle-blowing activist Julian Assange will speak at the Union a week on Tuesday, with members also in with a chance to meet him afterwards.

Face of WikiLeaks Julian Assange is set to star at the Union a week on Tuesday in his first public address for four months, The Tab can exclusively reveal.

In a jaw-dropping scoop, president Lauren Davidson will confirm the appearance of the face of the high profile Aussie in an email to Union members today.

Davidson was understandably elated, telling The Tab, “I’m delighted. One of our main purposes is to bring the most important and interesting people to Cambridge, and Assange is undoubtedly one of the most influential people in the world today.”

Just two weeks ago Belmarsh Magistrates’ Court ordered Assange to be sent back to Sweden, to face charges of sexually assaulting one woman and raping another last August.

Assange however – believing the claims to be just part of a bigger plot to discredit him – has appealed the ruling, thus prolonging his stay, and the Union snapped up the opportunity to bring him to Cambridge.

Assange was voted Time Magazine’s Readers’ Choice 2010 Person Of The Year.

He will speak to students about his life and career in the spotlight for his whistle-blowing antics. The Union is also offering some people the chance to meet and chat with the Wikileaks founder after the talk, with applications for that closing this Wednesday.

Reaction to the news has been positive. Calum Macdonald, a Downing lawyer who is running against Julian Parmar for Michaelmas President, said: “I think it’s fantastic. He’s one of the most topical and controversial figures out there at the minute.”

2nd year English student Becky Collins was also enthusiastic, telling The Tab: “That’s pretty impressive – it almost makes it worth the membership cost!”

Assange will give his chat between 5pm and 6pm on the 15th March, with the scheduled talk of Prof. Niall Ferguson going ahead at 7.30pm. Doors open at 4pm, and the event is members only.

The late addition of Assange to the termcard makes for a big last two weeks at the Union, with Antonin Scalia, Bill Nighy and Prof. James Watson also speaking in the next fortnight.