Fourth Degree by Laurie Taylor – 20/27 December 2018

All campus life is here

December 20, 2018
Santa peeping through blinds

Santa Goes to Teesside

Laurie Taylor reports

Students in Teesside University’s computing school are convinced that Santa Claus really does exist, Fourth Degree can reveal.

“It was quite incredible,” said one student. “There we were, sitting around expecting the usual gifts – an upper second here, a lower second there – when, to our surprise, we opened our parcels and discovered that we had all been given firsts.”

One student who had been moved up from a third to a starred first told Fourth Degree: “Of course, one could take the cynical view that Teesside was simply trying to boost its ratings in the domestic league tables by handing out higher marks and then justifying the move with an egregious official statement about the previous marks having been ‘out of kilter with the sector’. But at this time of year, it’s surely more appropriate to believe that this happy outcome was prompted by the spirit of Christmas.”

As we went to press, Santa Claus was unavailable for comment, but a local resident reported seeing reindeer flying over the university’s famous Middlesbrough Tower.

Message from the vice-chancellor

This is the time of year when vice-chancellors like to send an Xmas message to all members of their university. Unfortunately, shortage of space prevents Fourth Degree from reproducing any of these messages in their entirety. But here is a specially condensed version of this year’s typical offering:

Dear All,

Exciting. Forging Ahead. Strength to Strength. New Horizons. Upward Trajectory. Major Achievements. Jesus. Redeployment. 
Closing Down. 

Xmas Poser

Here’s a poser that is guaranteed to get your departmental party going with a swing:

What is the name of the UK’s current minister for universities?

Is it:

a) Dick Chrismore

b) Sam Johnson

c) Joe Sampson

d) Toby Young

e) There is no current minister for universities

(Check your answer on page 153)

Letters to the Editor

Dear Fourth Degree,

I see from the email in front of me that I have been invited to join my vice-chancellor for “refreshments and complimentary drinks”. Does this mean that each drink will by accompanied by an appreciation of my academic endeavours?


The Editor responds:

Dear Anonymous

I’m so sorry, but it is current editorial policy not to answer questions from pedants.

Fourth Degree advertisement: Academic Crackers plc
Source: Getty/Alamy/iStock

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