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Oxfam sex scandal CEO must resign from Cambridge women's college, angry donors say

Dame Barbara Stocking was heavily criticised by a major report into the Oxfam sex scandal
Dame Barbara Stocking was heavily criticised by a major report into the Oxfam sex scandal Credit: Clara Molden/Telegraph

The former chief executive of Oxfam is under pressure to resign from a Cambridge University women’s college after furious donors threatened to withhold their money.

Dame Barbara Stocking is facing calls to step down as president of Murray Edwards College after being heavily criticised for her leadership of Oxfam during the charity’s sex scandal, the Telegraph can disclose.

A report published earlier this week by the Charity Commission found that Dame Barbara had failed to properly investigate claims that Oxfam staff were abusing Haitian convent girls as young as 12. The 67-year-old also attempted to protect the charity’s reputation by arranging a “phased and dignified” exit for a senior boss caught using vulnerable prostitutes, the review found.

It is understood that an email has been circulated among Murray Edwards benefactors, informing them that the college is looking into Dame Barbara's involvement in the scandal. But a number of donors told the Telegraph last night that they had already withdrawn their funds in a bid to force Dame Barbara to resign. Others threatened to do so.

Former student Alison Balfour-Lynn, 64, said she would no longer donate until “that disgraceful woman” stepped down from her post.

“I think she should be sacked,” she said.

“It’s wrong that Dame Barbara should be allowed to continue to lead a women’s college, when so many young women were victims of this whole thing.

“I won’t be donating while she is still in her post.”

Oxfam boss Roland van Hauwermeiren was allowed a "phased and dignified exit" after admitting using prostitutes in earthquake-struck Haiti Credit: Universal News and Sport/Universal News and Sport

The Telegraph spoke to two more donors, who did not wish to be named, but confirmed they would withhold their donations in protest at Dame Barbara’s continued leadership.

One accused Dame Barbara of being a “total hypocrite” for giving a speech last month about the dangers of sexual harassment on campus.

“It’s as if she has totally ignored the whole Oxfam scandal,” the person said.

Students have made their feelings known too. Earlier this year a group wrote an open letter accusing Dame Barbara of having a “cavalier attitude” to sexual misconduct, and demanding to know why she had been handed a new contract to lead the college.

Dame Barbara left Oxfam in February 2013 shortly before taking up her present role at Murray Edwards, formerly known as New Hall college.

A spokesman for Murray Edwards College said last night: “The Governing Body will consider the findings from the Charity Commission’s report and recommendations, and will respond accordingly in due course.”