CUSU’s Women’s Officer Susy Langsdale has called on feminist members of the Union to block the invitation to Julian Assange – but warned them to do so secretly.
Writing to the people who had signed the previous petition, calling on the Union to disinvite Dominique Strauss Kahn last year, Langsdale claimed “the primary aim has to be to prevent him from speaking at all”.
In order to do this she called on recipients of the email to get 150 Union members to demand the meeting was cancelled – forcing a Special Business Meeting.
However, in what could be seen as an affront to the democratic process, Langsdale did not stop there. She also asked the feminists to “please keep it quite quiet because we don’t want a big ‘invite Assange’ campaign to be ready to go when the open meeting is organised“.
This attempt to keep the protestations on the down low has angered some students. Sidney 3rd year James Sheldon told The Tab “I have no problem with them trying to make their views heard, but by being secretive about it they sound like they know they’d lose if it ever got to a ‘fair’ debate”.
However, Union President Austin Mahler was unconcerned. He told The Tab that “I am happy to see members organising to have their voice heard in the Union. I hope that once our members are aware of the opportunity they will all – silent or vocal, majority or minority – stand up for their beliefs.”
The Tab attempted to contact Langsdale for comment, but were told she was out of the office.
CUSU Women’s campaign has campaigned vociferously against the invitations offered to some controversial speakers by the Union, including a large protest last year at the DSK talk. There were not, however, large-scale protests last time Mr Assange spoke at the Union, in March 2011.
They have labelled the decision to invite Mr Assange as “insulting to survivors of rape within the student body and nationally”, and are planning to protest during his speech.