Howler 'near-death' tragedy

July 26, 2012

A leading Poppleton don had to be rushed to hospital yesterday after a hysterical breakdown in the senior common room of David Willetts College.

Witnesses say that Dr Quintock of the Department of Media and Cultural Studies had been happily participating in the annual "Howler Symposium", during which dons traditionally roar with laughter at examples of student stupidity culled from final papers.

He had apparently been much amused by the student who had stressed "the role of penile servitude" in his criminology paper, and had laughed even louder at the student who had overestimated the worth of the Church by referring to Marx's concept of "surplice value". But his hysterical collapse was prompted by the student who referred to the death of Socrates as having been precipitated by "an overdose of wedlock".

Shortly after Dr Quintock had been removed to the ambulance, the corporate director of our HR department, Louise Bimpson, announced that there were no plans to ban future Howler Symposia. "In these student-oriented times," she explained, "it would be inappropriate to remove almost the only way in which dons can still assert their superiority."

'No one tests like we do'

"Ready and waiting." That was the confident response of Nancy Harbinger, our Head of Student Experience, to the news that the consumer champion Which? will launch a website later this year to provide free information to students about the value of university courses.

Ms Harbinger told The Poppletonian that her confidence was based on the results obtained from last year's Which? test on our BA in Philosophy.

This revealed that although students at the end of the course still displayed some grey areas of knowledge, they were largely free from crass empirical stains and ugly solipsistic blotches.

Further testing showed that although students on the programme did suffer from some aspirational shrinkage, they had been so successfully spun that they hardly noticed the disjunction between their actual course and the one described in the prospectus.

Ms Harbinger said that the course had also passed the "Would it fit in your garage test?" in that whereas the original philosophy course had been intellectually unwieldy, the new modular design allowed it to be stacked away in bits and forgotten about entirely.

Art for art's sake

Our vice-chancellor has declared himself "well chuffed" by the revelation that the Arts and Humanities Research Council is launching a two-year Cultural Value programme that will fund projects that provide evidence of the benefits of the arts in non-economic terms.

In an extended interview with our reporter Keith Ponting (30), the vice-chancellor proclaimed that in his view the arts "were well good" and that everyone should read good books as this was how people "could learn to express themselves properly and clearly if you know what I mean". He himself was in the midst of reading a book, he said, and although he couldn't recall the title it was "totally wicked and dead awesome".

Our vice-chancellor did inadvertently admit, however, to gaps in his arts knowledge. When Ponting asked if he liked Dickens, he said he didn't know as he'd never been to one.

Thought for the week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

Here's a cheery little reminder that even in these negative, depressing, suicidal times, we should all try to remain positive. "Those who beef too much often land in the stew."

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