Boycott broken – shock allegation

November 13, 2014

Shouts of “scab” and “blackleg” greeted one of our senior academics when he arrived on campus this morning.

According to informed sources, Professor Lapping of our Department of Media and Cultural Studies had reneged on the current University and College Union marking boycott during his Monday afternoon seminar on Cross-Gender Signification in Mrs. Brown’s Boys. It appears that during the course of this seminar, one of the students in attendance, a Ms Zoe Phelps, referred to the television series as “vulgar and stupid”. At this, Professor Lapping is alleged to have leaped to his feet, punched the air with his fist and shouted, “Spot on, Zoe. That’s a first-class observation”, before returning to his seated position.

This remark, claimed union activist Mr Ted Odgers, was a clear violation of the UCU’s declaration that the boycott on marking should extend to any form of evaluation that might be seen as “contributing to a student’s final degree”.

Mr Odgers further claimed that his view of the inappropriateness of Professor Lapping’s behaviour had been “reinforced” by learning that at the end of the seminar Professor Lapping had approached Ms Phelps and offered her a segment of KitKat. In Mr Odgers’ words, “Although UCU guidelines do not refer explicitly to the conferral of confectionery upon students as an act of evaluation, it is clear from the context that this particular segment had assessment overtones.”

Mr Odgers confirmed that he was investigating other “evaluation” offences. These included “excessive positive head-nodding” by English don Dr Bentinck during his Tuesday afternoon seminar on Persuasion and history don Dr E. P. Timpson’s alleged use of the defeated gladiator thumbs down sign to pass judgement on a student in his French Revolution seminar, who had spoken of Robespierre as “refreshingly decisive”.

Mr Odgers hoped that this clarified the boycott situation.

 

No more for me, I’m talking

Our Deputy Head of Women’s Studies, Dr Janet Tomelty, has expressed her concerns about recent research findings from Australia which show that when academics are offered the choice between long or short speaking slots at a forthcoming conference, it is the female academics who are significantly more likely to opt for the shorter slots.

Dr Tomelty told The Poppletonian that she had initially been inclined to agree with the researchers’ intimation that these differences might be indicative of female academics wishing to maintain a lower profile than men.

However, after careful consideration she had found this explanation rather less convincing than the traditional and well-documented incapacity of women to make accurate assessments of length.

 

Thought for the week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

“I am delighted to learn from internal correspondence that Goldsmiths, University of London Counselling Service will be holding a discussion group at midday this Thursday 13 November on Procrastination. Those wishing to attend are asked to ensure that their applications arrive at the Goldsmiths Counselling Service Office in good time for Christmas.”

lolsoc@dircon.co.uk

Times Higher Education free 30-day trial

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Reader's comments (1)

Tired double-entendres

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

United Nations peace keeper

Understanding the unwritten rules of graduate study is vital if you want to get the most from your PhD supervision, say Kevin O'Gorman and Robert MacIntosh

Eleanor Shakespeare illustration (5 January 2017)

Fixing problems in the academic job market by reducing the number of PhDs would homogenise the sector, argues Tom Cutterham

Houses of Parliament, Westminster, government

There really is no need for the Higher Education and Research Bill, says Anne Sheppard

poi, circus

Kate Riegle van West had to battle to bring her circus life and her academic life together

man with frozen beard, Lake Louise, Canada

Australia also makes gains in list of most attractive English-speaking nations as US slips