"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."
That was the benign response of Professor B.D. Trott, the Head of our Department of Tourism, to reports that a new institute at the University of Central Lancashire would be looking at why increasing numbers of people choose to visit such "dark tourism" sites as Ground Zero, the Body Worlds exhibition and the London Dungeon.
Professor Trott told The Poppletonian that although he "eagerly anticipated" the research results from the Institute for Dark Tourism Research, it was important to point out that his own department had already pioneered the study of people's fondness for rundown, derelict, sick, morbid, death-embracing, thoroughly offensive destinations by asking a sample of first-year undergraduates why they had chosen Poppleton in preference to any other university.
Although the findings were still being analysed, preliminary results suggested that such students were not "making psycho-social connections with their own lives" - as hypothesised by Philip Stone, the director of Uclan's new research institute - but had simply been misled by our prospectus.
Trust me - I'm a manager
Jamie Targett, our thrusting Director of Corporate Affairs, has reacted aggressively to the news that Richard Higgott, the head of Australia's Murdoch University, is involving academics in decision-making.
Speaking to our reporter Keith Ponting (30), Targett said that he had been "deeply shocked" by Professor Higgott's assertion that a top-down managerial structure "stifles innovation...in favour of revenue-generating activities" and also demoralises staff.
"People like Professor Higgott", said Targett, "want to take us back to the bad old days when the lunatics ran the asylum, when a wide variety of academics lacking any strategic managerial competencies or skill sets would sit on important committees and make democratic decisions that affected the nature of the university going forward.
"Nowadays," he told Ponting, "the ever-expanding corps of university managers means that academics can be freed from these onerous and inappropriate duties and allowed to focus on such properly academic tasks as lecturing to larger and larger classes, knocking out more and more unread research articles, recruiting more and more rich overseas students, and trying to make sense out of the latest 20-page managerial directive. Who could describe that as 'demoralising'?"
Desperately seeking inspiration
A leaked administrative document shows that our university has decided to modify its version of the University of Birmingham scheme that allows members of the public to win a day "shadowing inspirational academics" and seeing their research first-hand.
Although a member of the public - Mrs Georgina Bantock of 37 Cypress Avenue, Middle Poppleton - did recently win such a prize at our university, her hopes of shadowing an inspirational academic were dashed by the corporeal lack of any such academics on campus.
In the circumstances, Mrs Bantock has been offered the alternative prize of five days "shadowing" a mediocre time-server.
Thought for the week
(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)
Heck is where people go who don't believe in Gosh.