Laurie Taylor – 3 December 2015

The official weekly newsletter of the University of Poppleton. Finem respice!

December 3, 2015
Elderly in the road sign

Old acquaintance be forgot?

“I’ve no wish to be disrespectful to two people who’re obviously on the elderly side of things, but quite frankly they’ve missed the point.”

That was the brusque response of our Director of Corporate Strategy, Jamie Targett, to the recent Times Higher Education complaint from professors emeriti Richard Wilson and Charles Oppenheim that they no longer received any respect or attention from the universities where they once held distinguished academic positions.

Targett told our reporter Keith Ponting (30) that although Poppleton currently banned its professors emeriti from campus, this was not indicative of any lack of respect but was prompted by the recognition that “elderly dons are not fully consonant with the brand image of a modern thrusting employment-oriented university”.

“In the past,” said Targett, “when professors emeriti were allowed to roam freely on our campus, some behaved in a very provocative manner. One or two were caught reading books in the SCR and talking at length to students, while others caused considerable consternation by enquiring about the current workings of the University Ethics Committee (now the Imperial Tobacco Centre for Scientific Advancement) or the present whereabouts of the Library (now the Jo Johnson Self-Directed Learning Centre).”

But, insisted Targett, this ban in no way meant that Poppleton was among those many universities cited by Wilson and Oppenheim that did “not even formally acknowledge the existence of their professors emeriti”.

“Of course we know our emeriti exist,” he told Ponting. “Why else would we be spending good money on the first-class stamps that have to be placed on the begging letters we send them every other week?”

The Poppletonian (3 December 2015)

Save me! I’m a Russell Group member!

In the latest edition of the Journal of Instantly Published High-Impact, Low-Merit Research Findings, one of our leading philosophers, Dr D. W. Dingbat, turns his attention to the vexed question of the Russell Group.

“Recent research by Dr Vikki Boliver of Durham University”, writes Dr Dingbat, “shows that nearly all of the present Russell Group members, in terms of research income and admission standards, have more in common with other pre-92 universities than with Oxford and Cambridge.”

So, asks Dr Dingbat, to what extent are these non-Oxbridge members of the Russell Group, universities such as Leeds, Exeter, York, Southampton and Sheffield, truly Russell Group members in that they clearly belong to a Russell Group subset that contains “the same things” as a subset of pre-92 universities that lies outside the Russell Group?

But after further inconclusive reflections on set theory, Dr Dingbat turns to another possible way of defining the “non-Russell Group subset of Russell Group universities”. He notes that Dr Boliver’s explanation of the Russell Group’s capacity to contain members that are indistinguishable from non-members is largely a result of brand marketing.

“This provides us with a very useful analogy,” writes Dr Dingbat. “We could now say that while Oxford and Cambridge are Marmite, all other Russell Group members are nothing more than yeast extract.” He hoped this clarified the situation.

Thought for the week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

Several members of staff have complained that their distinctive sexual orientation was not captured by the new acronym QUILTBAG (Queer/Questioning, Undecided, Intersex, Lesbian, Transgender/Transsexual, Bisexual, Allied/Asexual and Gay/Gender Queer). Please note therefore that henceforth in all internal documentation we will be adding the abbreviation GUF to the present acronym in order to accommodate those who characterise their sexual orientation as “Generally Up For It”.

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