Philosopher Professor AC Grayling has waded into the row over whether Oxford Union president Ben Sullivan should stay in post while he is being investigated by police over rape allegations.
Mr Sullivan, 21, was arrested this month on suspicion of rape and the attempted rape of two undergraduates. He denies the allegations.
Professor Grayling, who is master of the New College of the Humanities, said the president should not be subject to the “kangaroo court of public opinion” and was innocent until proven guilty.
Professor Grayling, who was due to address the OU debating union last night, made his comments after a series of other speakers including Interpol general secretary Robert Noble, David Mepham, UK director of Human Rights Watch and Julie Meter, US entrepreneur and judge on BBC’s Dragon’s Den, all pulled out of addressing the union.
Professor Grayling, in a letter to Sarah Pine, the Oxford University Student Union vice-president for women, who urged speakers to pull out, said: “Asking people to convict and punish someone before due process of law has taken its course is a bad direction to go in and with great respect I urge you to reflect on that.”