In an extraordinary intervention, one of our leading radical academics, Ted Odgers of the Department of Media and Cultural Studies, has leapt to the defence of those lesser members of the Russell Group that were recently described by Sir David Watson, professor of higher education at the University of Oxford, as “Bottom Russellers” because of their relatively poor research standing.
Odgers, currently deputy editor of The Workers’ Flag, told The Poppletonian that although our own university had not been able to afford the £500,000 payment that recently secured admission to the group for the universities of York, Queen Mary, Durham and Exeter, this did not mean that he agreed with Sir David’s intimation that the group was losing its significance.
On the contrary. According to Odgers, the Russell Group’s new-found readiness to accept second-rate universities as members could very well presage a new democratisation of the organisation. “In the fullness of time”, said Odgers, it was possible to envisage a “revolutionary take-over” by the Bottom Russellers.
“Just envisage the combined power of those Bottom Russellers if they unite and fight. Just imagine the combined forces of Newcastle, Liverpool, Exeter and Cardiff smashing their way into the Winter Palace of the Athenaeum. Just imagine their power as they recruit even more substandard research universities to the cause. What was once merely a Russell would gradually swell into a ripple and then into a stir and finally into a revolution in which the group emerged as the university sector’s only mission group, ‘a class in and for itself’.”
A spokesman for Poppleton described Mr Odgers’ article as “exactly the type of hysterical revolutionary claptrap you’d expect from an unreconstructed lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies”.
Stands to reason
Nathan Prest, our Head of Student Recruitment, has expressed “delight” after discovering that our university’s undergraduate recruitment policies are very much in accord with the findings of research commissioned by the Higher Education Funding Council for England on how prospective students choose a course.
The findings show that “too much information” can lead to “cognitive overload” and result in “sub-optimal” decisions. It was exactly this concern, said Mr Prest, that lay behind our university’s belief that “the less said about Poppleton the better”.
But “even more gratifying”, said Mr Prest, was the revelation that much student decision-making was “non-rational”. This finding was in line with Poppleton’s recent decision to abandon all rational appeals to prospective students on the grounds that “there was no reason on earth why anyone would ever want to study at Poppleton”.
We will not be gagged
Following allegations that the soon-to-retire vice-chancellor of Durham University Chris Higgins chastised a former editor of the student newspaper for not running more “positive” stories, we would like to emphasise the complete independence of our own organ from such injunctions.
In next week’s edition:
“Why I’m worth every penny and could easily get as much in the private sector”: our vice-chancellor rebuts “the jealous cynics”.
“Now I’m ready for death”: the touching story of how an 84-year-old woman stricken with a terminal illness successfully completed her Poppleton degree in Life Sciences.
Five clumsily posed pictures of smiling members of staff with very little to smile about.
Thought for the week
(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)
“Next week’s guest lecture on Decision-Making will be given by Dr T. E. Robards of QML or QMUL or QMU or QMW or QMWC or QM University.”