"Hands off our northeastern Scottish colleagues."
That was the vigorous response of Janet Fluellen, our Director of Curriculum Development, to all those critics who have lined up to attack the University of Aberdeen's proposed chair in alternative medicine.
Ms Fluellen admitted that she was not "totally familiar" with the anthroposophical basis of the new post, or indeed with the manner in which this distinctive philosophy allowed for the complex interplay between physiological and spiritual processes in healing. Neither was she "thoroughly au fait" with the empirical basis for the discipline's claim to cure cancer with the use of mistletoe.
She did, however, feel that "a proper university" should always be open to "new, exciting disciplines", and instanced our own university's Department of Rectal Communication, which had gone "from strength to strength in recent years under the exemplary leadership of Professor D.C. Butt".
She reminded our reporter Keith Ponting (30) that there had been widespread scepticism about a discipline that stressed the psychological importance of shifting the site of consciousness from the cortex to the rectum. But advances in thermal imaging had now confirmed many of the discipline's original claims about the crucial part played by the rectum in unconscious communication.
Professor Butt himself told Ponting that he appreciated Ms Fluellen's "vote of confidence" in his discipline.
"In the early days, I was one of the very few people in UK universities who made a habit of speaking through my arse. But even a cursory survey of higher education today would show that the practice has now become widespread. That itself is a great testament to the discipline of rectal communication."
Jennifer Doubleday is on spiritual retreat
Pull the other one
The Head of our School of Dentistry, Professor L.P. Splicer, has expressed sympathy with his colleagues in the School of Medicine and Dentistry at Queen Mary, University of London, who are being metrically assessed on the "impact" of their research.
Professor Splicer, who specialises in the study of the antifungal properties of chlorhexidine digluconate on oral candida, told The Poppletonian that he had been able to raise his own "impact" score only by publishing research that was more likely to command widespread attention than his work on chlorhexidine digluconate.
He instanced his recent articles "Rinse, Please: An Analysis of Patients' Relative Ability to Keep Their Tongue out of the Way during Deep Drilling" (British Journal of Comparative Implants) and "Your Number's Up: Patient Response to the Rapidly Waning Effect of Local Anaesthetic" (Australian Journal of Molar Studies).
Professor Splicer went out of his way to thank all those patients from around the country who had generously contributed to his research during the long hours they had spent in dental reception areas waiting to have a cheque extracted.
Our Deputy Head of Student Experience, Nancy Harbinger, has apologised to all those overseas students on campus who were issued with "a visible means of identification" so as to enable academics to comply with the monitoring of attendance demanded by the tough new immigration rules.
Ms Harbinger thanked those academics in the History Department who had pointed out that the current university requirement for all overseas students to attach a yellow patch to their clothing might be open to misinterpretation.
She trusted that the new requirement for overseas students to wear clothing that discreetly featured a small set of arrows would prove an acceptable alternative.