The waiting is over. The suspense is at an end. The news is out. The University of Poppleton has opted for a £9,000 annual tuition fee.
Speaking to a specially convened incredulous audience of academic staff, our vice-chancellor admitted that he had been under "considerable pressure" to reveal his position.
"I've lost count of all the vice-chancellors who've rung in the past few days to say they couldn't make their own decision until they knew where Poppleton stood. As one was kind enough to say, 'If a place like Poppleton goes for £9,000, then it's Liberty Hall for everyone.'"
The vice-chancellor told his increasingly restive audience: "For years and years we've wanted to improve our position in any one of the institutional league tables, and now at a stroke we're suddenly right up there alongside Oxford, Cambridge and the University of Central Lancashire."
As medical staff moved in to deal with outbreaks of hysteria, the vice-chancellor concluded his oration by declaring: "This is a proud day for all those who believe in freedom, democracy and a thoroughgoing mindless commitment to self-immolation."
'My hands are clean' - Lapping
A new report by the External Examining Review Group has cast doubt on the probity of the external examiner currently employed by one of our leading departments.
In the view of the report's authors, external examiners should "not be related to a member of staff". But The Poppletonian has discovered that the current external examiner in the Department of Media and Cultural Studies enjoys a close connection with the Head of the Department, Professor Gordon Lapping.
When confronted with this evidence, Lapping agreed that he had employed his domestic cleaner, Constanta, in the role of external examiner for the past three years. He did not, however, agree that his personal employment of Constanta constituted "a relationship" and pointed out that there had been no complaints at all over Constanta's professional readiness to raise marks to "departmentally acceptable levels".
Lapping also pointed out that he had made every endeavour to secure alternative external examiners before appointing Constanta, but he had found that she was almost the only person in his knowledge who was prepared to work for the standard external examiner fee of £3.65 an hour.
Thought for the Week
(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)
"Next week's seminar will be taken by Doctor Fritz Itzig of our Neuroscience Department, who will present new evidence showing that there are parts of the brain that glow bright red and appear to give off steam when academic subjects are presented with details of our vice-chancellor's pay cheque. Not one to be missed."
There's no conspiracy
Our Deputy Head of Research Grant Procurement, Graham Overheads, has leaped to the defence of the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
He told our reporter Keith Ponting (30) that he had carefully studied the council's plan to fund a major research study into "Strategies for Improving the Image of Senior Politicians Who Have Lost All Public Credibility as a Result of Their Readiness to Abandon Deeply Held and Frequently Asserted Election Promises".
Although Overheads admitted that those with a taste for "conspiracy theory" might detect some political resonances in this project, he believed that it was thoroughly in line with the council's traditional commitment to research that "added to the general good".
Nick Clegg was unavailable for comment.