Any old irony

April 8, 2010

"The time has come to root out this new challenge." This was the no-nonsense declaration from Jamie Targett, our Director of Corporate Affairs, as he inaugurated the newly formed Irony Sub-Committee of the university's Staff Disciplinary Board.

Speaking to The Poppletonian, Targett revealed that the impetus behind the new committee was a message posted by Mr Ted Odgers of the Department of Media and Cultural Studies on the new Times Higher Education #loveHE website.

In this post, Mr Odgers initially declared himself totally at one with THE's intention to "champion the joys and triumphs of higher education".

He then went on to instance such "joys and triumphs" as knowing that our vice-chancellor earns more than the prime minister ("worth every last penny"), that the number of administrators in Poppleton now exceeds that of academics by two to one ("how on earth did we ever manage without so many?") and that all major decisions in the university were now made by an unelected Court of Governors entirely composed of local business people ("who could possibly know more about the intrinsic values of academic life than a local sausage maker?").

In his defence, Mr Odgers claimed that he was doing no more than repeating claims that had already been made by Targett himself. But this argument was rejected by the Irony Sub-Committee on the grounds that the accompanying photograph of Mr Odgers on the site showed a bulge in his left cheek that, in the determination of the committee, was consonant only with the presence of a tongue.

We'll keep a welcome in the budget

Guidelines for dealing with overseas students from non-European Union countries have been issued by our Deputy Head of Overseas Recruitment, Geraldine Transept.

Transept told our reporter, Keith Ponting (30), that although overseas students made a valuable contribution to the economy of the university, this should not mark them out from the rest of the student body.

It is this "unfortunate tendency" that lay behind the recommendation that academic staff should henceforth desist from marking the presence of such students by affixing pound signs to their registered names.

On a more positive note, the guidelines urge academics to increase their "empathy" with "our friends from overseas" by seeking to master their first names and the approximate continent of their origin.

The great escape

Members of our Experimental Psychology Department have expressed dismay at the news of a mass escape of rats from the Animal Laboratory.

A spokesperson for the department, Dr Fritz Itzig, denied claims that the breakout was occasioned by recent economies that had led to a halving of the size of the food pellets delivered to animals who successfully completed their experimental tasks.

He also dismissed as "very foolish" the alternative suggestion that the rats' escape bid had been precipitated by their handlers' repetitive references to the university as "a sinking ship".

Thought for the week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

"In the advance notice for next week's teambuilding exercise, it was stated that rival teams would be required to show their capacity for teamwork by endeavouring to build a model of the Forth Bridge using no more than the following: two coat hangers, a fir cone, three stamp hinges and a jam jar. Apologies. The list should obviously have also included a broom handle."

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