Close the door behind you

June 2, 2011

Our Corporate Director of Human Resources, Louise Bimpson, has welcomed the news that University College London plans to outsource all its cleaning and security services.

Ms Bimpson told our reporter Keith Ponting (30) that this development was in line with current human resources thinking on the most efficacious strategies for screwing the low-paid and also with Poppleton's recent decision to outsource all downsizing of its academic staff.

"In the past," she told Ponting, "my team of managers regarded the finalisation of academic contracts as very much at the heart of their human resource task portfolio."

However, in recent months they had found themselves "weighed down" by the business of handing out P45s and There Is Life after Retirement leaflets to all those members of the Humanities Faculty whose services were no longer compatible with the university's pig-product orientation.

She had, therefore, decided to outsource such restructuring tasks to Termination Services plc, an organisation with proven expertise in fast-track disemployment procedures.

Ms Bimpson, however, denied the "scurrilous rumour" that academics who faced such outsourced job realignment would be conveyed to the headquarters of Termination Services in motorised tumbrils.

Plugged in

"Only a technophobe could possibly object." That was the vigorous response of Jamie Targett, our Director of Corporate Affairs, to the news that De Montfort University is planning to monitor student attendance via electronic chips in their ID cards.

He pointed out that Poppleton had pioneered electronic monitoring with its 2003 decision to tag academics on research leave and its 2007 insertion of a sat-nav system in the university mace in order to ensure that the degree-day procession party avoided the treacherous boglands of the Science Park.

But he believed that the "most compelling example" of the university's commitment to new technology was its "heroic" decision in 2008 to appoint a vice-chancellor who, for all practical purposes, was "indistinguishable from a mindless robot".

Thought for the Week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

Although I have frequently used his style of play as an example of the role of strength and power in personal development, there is no truth whatsoever to the repetitive campus tweet that I have enjoyed a relationship with Mr Alan Shearer. I hope this clarifies the situation.

Disciplined silence

One of our leading "under threat" academics, Professor Gordon Lapping of the Department of Media and Cultural Studies, has announced that he will not be signing the online petition to preserve the Housman Senior Common Room at University College London.

Lapping explained that he had been deterred from adding his signature by the news that the Housman Room provided a place where it was possible "to meet and talk to people in areas very different from your own".

He regarded this as seriously at odds with the traditional senior common room practice in which members of the same discipline sit in long-established seats at carefully regulated distances from those of other academic persuasions.

He was also alarmed by the reference to "talk". In his view, the proper ambience for any place that presumed to describe itself as a senior common room was "complete silence broken only by the occasional groans of dismay from those who had been first to bag the weekly copy of Times Higher".

Neither had he been persuaded to sign by the claim that the Housman Room allowed for "surprise relationships". It is his long-considered view that "if God had intended academics to mix, he wouldn't have created disciplines".

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