Icons are bygones
“We need to maintain a sense of perspective.”
That was the reassuringly bland response from our Director of Corporate Affairs, Jamie Targett, to suggestions that our university should heed the advice of Nobel prizewinning author Wole Soyinka and “think hard about whether to retain controversial symbols such as the statue of Rhodes”.
Mr Targett said that our newly constituted Controversial Symbols Committee was already “thinking hard” about the continued appropriateness of the terracotta bust of Sir Philip Green that at present adorns the atrium of our Business Studies Centre and the marble statue of Nick Clegg that currently graces the forecourt of the Student Loans Centre.
However, he described the proposal from Ted Odgers of the Department of Media and Cultural Studies that the word “university” should be removed from all campus signage, on the grounds that it, too, had now become a “controversial symbol”, as “unhelpful”.
Our Head of Outreach Programmes, Mr Ned Kelly, has praised the call from Robin Hambleton, professor of city leadership at the University of the West of England, for universities to increase their meaningful relationship with local communities.
Mr Kelly said that Poppleton has already shown its clear commitment to outreach work by its decision to donate a new oil portrait of our vice-chancellor to the city art gallery.
He did, however, recognise that this was a relatively modest example of outreach compared with that initiated by the biology department of the University of St Andrews, which recently announced in its newsletter that “as part of its outreach…activities” the school had commissioned a custom-designed original buff scarf “bearing the university crest and School of Biology logo against a subtle DNA sequence background”. This, boasted the newsletter, “is being offered to students for only £10 in a strictly limited edition”.
As Mr Kelly pointed out, “What better form of biology outreach could one possibly envisage than allowing ordinary members of the public to have occasional sight of biology students wearing their new limited edition custom-designed buff scarves?”
And so to bed
Our university’s hopes of achieving a top position in the student experience category of the inaugural Student Accommodation Awards have been dashed after the student judges’ decision not to make any awards in this category as none of the entrants met “the urgent need of students to live in accommodation that will not force them into poverty”.
Mike Lickcheese, our Head of Student Accommodation, described the judges’ decision as “short-sighted”. “Here at Poppleton we are very proud of the exciting new student accommodation provided by Sartorius Student Property plc and believe that at £215 per week rental it constitutes a quite wonderful student experience.”
A spokesperson for Sartorius plc declined to talk about “the student experience” but described the “investor experience” of the Poppleton development as “quite wonderfully close” to the 9.2 per cent average return on student property.