Although the annual Clearing exercise that began this morning can traditionally generate some anxious moments and even a certain amount of friction as under-quota departments compete for candidates, this is the first year in which a leading Poppleton academic has been summarily executed for a serious lapse of concentration.
According to unconfirmed reports, Dr C.E.M. Jowett of our Philosophy Department was lined up against the wall of the new Administrative Block and shot several times through the head by an Admissions Office firing squad after his failure to "net" an AAB student who had phoned up earlier in the morning to express an interest in a Poppleton degree.
Although the news of the presence of an AAB student on the line had been appropriately marked in the Clearing office by the sounding of a bell and the firing of a small cannon, it appears that Dr Jowett had only just reached the £500 gift voucher stage in the list of AAB inducements when he chose to place the caller on hold to take a mobile phone call from his fiancee.
There was little sympathy for Dr Jowett among other members of the Clearing team. Professor K.J. Peel of the Department of Computer Science, who was hoping that Clearing would be able to remedy his departmental failure to recruit any students at all this year, described the execution as "a necessary wake-up call".
Thought for the week
(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)
Here's a cautionary bit of advice for all those members of staff who are currently thinking of publicly denouncing the university's newly revealed plan for the future going forward: "A closed mouth gathers no foot."
Smile, you're in the survey
There was good news for one of our top psychologists this week. Dr Ted Thorndike of our Department of Psychology told The Poppletonian that he was excited by "the symbiotic possibilities" afforded by research at Birkbeck, University of London into what made babies laugh.
Dr Thorndike told our reporter Keith Ponting (30) that the Birkbeck work "nicely complemented" his own five-year study into what brought a smile to the face of contemporary Poppleton academics.
Although this work had initially been "set back" by a survey finding that more than 97 per cent of Poppleton academics could find nothing at all on campus "worth smiling about", subsequent in-depth research had revealed that more than 82 per cent of serving academics found themselves able to raise a smile at the serious discomfiture of members of the management team.
Over 40 per cent of all academics, for example, had admitted to smiling broadly upon learning that our Head of Signage had driven his new Lexus into a "No Parking" notice, while 74 per cent had admitted to "a sizeable chuckle" upon hearing that our Head of Human Resources had broken a femur in two places by tripping over a redundancy package.
Although pressed by Ponting, Dr Thorndike declined to offer any explanation for the permanent broad grin on the face of our vice-chancellor.