Ill suited for the task

December 2, 2010

Tim Marshall, chief executive of the UK's Janet IT network, believes that within the academy, "ponytails and sandals" who waste money should be replaced by managers "with the guts to take things forward" ("Show the sandals out, the suits will save you", 25 November). As a "suit", he would say that, wouldn't he?

An interesting exercise would be to look at the dress sense of most of the current crop of university vice-chancellors, corporate bankers and perhaps even our (mainly male) political representatives and ask an alternative question, namely: do we really, at this time, want even more suits? They are the ones who got us into this mess in the first place, not, in my humble opinion, the ponytails and sandals of the academy.

I also wonder what Jesus of Nazareth would have made of Marshall's prejudice? He will be after the beards and scarves next.

Howard N. Hughes, Subject leader, biomedical science, Manchester Metropolitan University.

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