UPDATE: The Strauss-Man Cometh

Harry Shukman

UPDATE: The lawyer of an alleged DSK victim has taken the Union to task at a Womens’ Campaign event.

READ our full report on DSK’s Union talk HERE.

UPDATE – 4.00pm

Speaking in Cambridge, the lawyer of an alleged DSK victim described the forthcoming speech as “a charade” and an “affront to all victims of sexual crime.”

Douglas Wigdor, lawyer to New York hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo, flew in from the USA last night to speak at the Law Faculty at the invitation of the Women’s Campaign.

He attacked the Union for allowing DSK to “[use] a prestigious university to further his political means.”

“The history of the union is now going to be intertwined with Strauss-Khan. I do not blame Strauss-Khan, I blame the Union.

“Diallo wants you to know that she is determined to stand up for her dignity.”

Union President Katie Lam said: “We invited Mr Strauss-Kahn while he was still head of the IMF and well before the international interest surrounding him.”

“In order for us to be a neutral forum promoting free speech, without caveats or conditions, we can’t engage in any kind of judgement on people.”

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UPDATE – 11.30am

Two campaigners have been arrested for defacing the Cambridge Union overnight in the run up to the DSK talk.

Graffiti at the Union – photo by Devon Buchanan

A 20-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman were taken into custody today after slogans protesting the former head of the IMF’s appearance in Cambridge were painted on the walls of the Union.

The messages on the building included “DSK DIE”, “Women deserve better” and “This house supports rape culture”.

CUSU Women’s Campaign, who have thus far co-ordinated to protests against Strauss-Kahn, have moved quickly to distance themselves from the vandalism.

Ruth Graham, CUSU women’s officer, told The Tab that she “had no idea that this was going to happen or that there was an intentional campaign [of vandalism].”

She continued that the official CUSU campaign would consist of a speaker event followed by a peaceful protest.

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DSK’s talk in Cambridge this evening will go ahead, after the petition for his disinvitation has been rejected by the Union.

The CUSU Women’s Campaign’s 700-strong petition was delivered to the Union earlier this week, along with an open letter denouncing DSK’s invitation as a “callous desire to exploit gender crime allegations in the service of controversy.”

DSK: Still coming after all this time

The committee made their official response yesterday evening, saying they “will not be rescinding [their] invitation to Mr Strauss-Kahn.

“He was not invited after or as a result of the circumstances surrounding his departure from the IMF. We would like to add that the purpose of the Union is to provide a neutral platform for free speech.”

The Women’s Campaign has planned a day of protest against DSK before his 7.30pm speech.

In the afternoon the lawyer of the hotel maid who claimed DSK sexually assaulted her will speak at the Law Faculty. A statement from French journo Tristane Banon – who claims DSK tried to rape her in 2002 – will also be read out. Protesters will then march on the Union and protest outside until he begins.

Citing massive demand, the Union will issue tickets to members by random ballot, as opposed to its usual queuing policy.

Tickets haven’t been issued yet, but Union sources indicate that attendees will be informed by 10am today.

Official media presence has been banned at DSK’s request.

  • fan and observer

    The pressure is definitely on for ISpeakForTheStudents. Will he or she be able to make a comment worthy of this article?

  • ISpeakForTheStudents

    I HAVE NOTHING MORE TO SAY.
    YOU HAD YOUR CHANCE.
    Proletarier aller Colleges vereinigt Euch!

    Le spectacle en général, comme inversion concrète de la vie, est le mouvement autonome du non-vivant.

    THE REVOLUTION BEGINS NOW!
    BROTHERS, SISTERS, CAMBRIDGE DEFEND EDUCATION, CUSU WOMEN’S CAMPAIGN – WE ARE AT THE FOREFRONT OF THIS WAR.

    WE
    WILL
    CHANGE
    THE WORLD

    WE WILL STOP AT NOTHING (until the end of term)

    • Ah ces Anglais…

      You're dumb.

  • McLovin

    I am McLovin.

  • ingeniously funny

    This house supports rape culture

  • Karl

    The people have spoken, VIVA LA RESISTANCE.

    • Dirty

      Blanquist

  • I like free speech

    Stupid Lefties…

  • Concerned

    'DSK DIE'

    Yeh, because rape is bad but MURDER is fine.

    • Pavement

      I'm concerned with the wording as well. Surely "DIE DSK" would have been more appropriate. I'm struggling with it as it is. Even "DSK, DIE" would have been better. Stupid lefties

      • except

        no one will murder or harm DSK, while it is possible that has actually raped and sexually assaulted women

    • ProtectorOfTheWeak

      You're a rape apologist.

    • just sayin'

      At least with murder you get to escape your ordeal…

      • Seriously?

        On that logic, we might as well euthanise rape victims.

    • DIE DSK DIE

      it means 'the DSK the' in German…

  • bemused

    I hope that the picture caption is not an innuendo.

  • ghetto feminist

    shit is gonna go down tonight breeeeeeeev!!!!!!!

    • doncha mean

      sistaaaaaa?

  • Butterfield

    Women deserve bonbonbonbons

  • Close one

    At least it's not International Women's day anymore, that could've been awkward.

  • tee

    mr wigdor also quite rightly pointed out that this is doing wonders for katie lam's profile, cu's mission statement is for the students to learn from the public figures that address us

  • peter

    "the lawyer of an alleged DSK victim"

    Well done on the impartial speaker. It's not like he's biased or anything.

  • great for lam…

    …bad for rape victims

  • Free Speech

    I can hear all these people shouting at the union now. Haven't they got a kony video to spread? FOCUS, people.

  • Frank

    I don’t know about feminism. Inferiority complex seems more apt.

  • In other news

    I'm glad Wenger announced Van Persie is not for sale

  • OnceWeWereAnarchists

    I think what I find most objectionable about the whole business with the criminal damage, and now the protestors getting bolshy outside the union, is that there's no means-end reasoning, there's no fucking PLAN.

    The extent of the forethought that has gone into this is: get out there and get angry in as vocal, as public, and as disruptive a fashion as possible.

    And what's that supposed to do? Other than to gratify the protestor's appetites for anti-authority showboating? It's like they care more about being seen to be doing something than about actually getting stuff done.

    • I'm young and bored

      of being young and bored

  • Juan Sheet

    Fair play to the CUSU Women's Campaign for the protest tonight – from all reports, they made one hell of a ruckus outside, and the story has been picked up by quite a few news outlets. I think that's the most important thing to draw from this – without DSK coming I doubt we would have been discussing the treatment of rape victims, the complexities of situations and consent (with things not being quite as black or white as we'd like) or the role of women within CUS to the same extent that we have. While the campaign failed to stop DSK speaking, it succeeded in raising awareness and got us thinking and discussing some pretty important issues.

    So free speech and rule of law advocates are happy because DSK got to speak, and the cause of the women's campaign was furthered. Sort of seems like a win win to me?

  • This whole lark is

    completely ridiculous. people need to just chill out.

  • I hope

    no one complains about the arrests, I witnessed the violence of the protestors: if you hit the security guards on the head, it's totally understandable they take you to the side to make you stop, and then yeah if you want to drag yourself across the floor and scream about it then you're being slightly melodramatic. Just anticipating some silliness…

    • doubt

      you witnessed anything, else you would have noted that the security guards were standing behind 6ft metal barriers for the duration of the protest. when some protestors tried to clamber over the barriers security started palming them in the face and bashing their fingers with their fists. my gf nearly got her fingers broken by one guy punching her in the hand repeatedly

      and lol at 'drag yourself'. is that physically possible? I guess she was just doing the worm, and the 6 police holding on to her limbs were just part of the performance.

  • dsknotafan

    caption: really!?