Dead don shock

July 14, 2011

We very much regret to report the death by stabbing of one of Poppleton's leading academics.

According to unconfirmed reports, Doctor T.W. Petherbridge, of our Department of Medieval History, met his sudden end as the result of a disagreement over marking.

A member of the department, who asked not to be named, told The Poppletonian that the argument apparently began when Doctor Petherbridge awarded a mark of 59 for a finals paper in the archaeology of Iron Age Britain option.

His co-marker, Professor Tancred, insisted that the paper was a "clear 60" and accused Petherbridge of "numerical essentialism". In his turn, Petherbridge denounced Tancred as condoning "grade drift".

It appears that the fatal stabbing occurred at the end of a "final reconciliation meeting" when Petherbridge announced that if the mark were raised to 60 it would be "over his dead body". At this point, Tancred allegedly rose from his chair and drove a blackboard pointer through his fellow examiner's carotid artery.

A spokesperson for the department confirmed the subsequent arrest of Professor Tancred and indicated that his defence would cite evidence of a "borderline personality disorder".

Every little helps

In a move that will seriously disconcert many other third-rate universities, Poppleton has announced that "after careful consideration" it will introduce a new cut-price undergraduate degree from autumn 2012.

According to Jamie Targett, our Director of Corporate Affairs, the new degree (BA Bargain) will be "sensibly priced" at £4,500 a year. Although students on the course would have to forgo some of the "personal touches" currently associated with more expensive undergraduate courses, such as seminars, lectures, supervision and access to the library, they would be allowed to wander around the campus freely during their three-year stay (except on Sundays and the first Monday of the month).

Targett believed the degree would have particular appeal to all those non-AAB disadvantaged students who were too poor to afford anything better. "One of the great things about disadvantaged students", he explained, "is that they have very low expectations - and here at Poppleton we're ideally placed to live up to them."

Out of the closet

Louise Bimpson, the corporate director of our ever-expanding human resources team, has warmly welcomed the proposal by Paul Greatrix, the registrar of the University of Nottingham, that a ban be placed on the use of the term "back office" to describe university administrative staff.

She told our reporter, Keith Ponting (30), that she agreed that the term not only demeaned administrative staff but also suggested that they were more expendable than other members of the university.

Bimpson said that she was already taking steps to remove the term from all official documentation. But when pressed by Ponting, she was unable to say whether this ban might be extended to such other traditional Poppletonian terms for administrative staff as "pen-pushers", "bean counters", "faceless bureaucrats" and "time-serving lickspittles".

Thought for the Week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

"Indecision is the key to flexibility."

lolsoc@dircon.co.uk.

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