Our vice-chancellor has responded vigorously to allegations that universities in the Russell Group receive disproportionate benefits compared with the rest of the university sector.
He conceded that its members were able to charge higher fees than many other universities, were able to recruit extra AAB students, were in receipt of more than a quarter of all charitable donations made to universities, were in line to receive a larger share of quality-related research funding and did benefit from a government scheme rewarding top state school pupils with an expenses-paid outing to a Russell Group institution.
However, our vice-chancellor noted, these benefits had to be kept in context. "We must always bear in mind that members of the Russell Group are currently able to boast just one female head and that almost all Russell Group universities have failed to reach independently set levels for admitting pupils from state schools and poor backgrounds. As long as members of the Russell Group continue to expend so much time and energy on keeping women and riff-raff students in their place, it's hardly surprising that they should be favoured in so many other respects."
The week's new post
We are delighted to announce that Mr Jed Storm has been appointed Head of Silly Research.
In an exclusive interview, Mr Storm told our reporter Keith Ponting (30) that although Poppleton had a proud record, it lagged behind other universities in producing basically silly research that would attract tabloid attention and perhaps even earn valuable impact points in the research excellence framework.
He told Ponting that a lot of the best work in this area came from psychologists "skilled at producing silly correlations between such previously unrelated items as cucumber sandwiches and sexual arousal".
But he also admitted to having a soft spot for "rigorously pessimistic" sociologists who reveal a relationship between too much shopping and the imminent collapse of civilisation, and for neuroscientists who can show the exact bit of the brain responsible for such aberrant behaviour as driving badly or uncritically supporting West Ham United.
Sausages on 'slippery slope'
"This could well be the final nail in the coffin for financially disadvantaged students who seek to enter the sausage-making profession."
That was the strongly worded reaction of Dr D.B. Lardon, the Head of our Department of Pork Studies, to the news that our local sausage manufacturer, Poppleton Pork Products, is establishing its own sausage diploma.
According to the MD of Poppleton Pork Products, Sir Hartley Grossman, this new course would, in common with similar internal courses being established by Vogue and The Guardian, cost a great deal of money but, as in the case of Vogue, would increase its attractiveness by offering internships to successful students.
Dr Lardon described the development as "a slippery slope". "It can't be too long", he told The Poppletonian, "before our current degree in Theology is undermined by Westminster Abbey offering high-cost diplomas in C of E Studies with the lure of a bishopric internship."
Thought for the week
(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)
This week's Make Your Savings Count seminar in the 'Redundancy and After' series has been cancelled owing to lack of interest.