Laurie Taylor column

December 15, 2000

"The trickle of parents accompanying their offspring on open days has become a flood" THES December 8.

Professor Lapping.

What is it, Maureen? Didn't I tell you I was busy all day filling out my Research Time Allocation Diary?

I thought you should know that there are about 30 parents in the Inquiries Office.

What do you mean "parents"?

Well, mostly mothers. They've all come with their offspring for Open Day.

I thought Quintock was handling Open Day.

He was until an hour ago. But there was an argument in the biology lecture theatre when he said he couldn't provide exact figures on the employment prospects for our graduates.

Didn't he explain that such figures were in the process of preparation?

He tried. But then one mother said she wasn't prepared to pay for her daughter to study in such an inefficient department and other mothers started shouting "Hear, Hear" and things got rather out of hand.

Out of hand?

Rather. Apparently someone asked Quintock for details of our IT facilities and he'd hardly had time to mention the new photocopying machine before another mother was on her feet wanting to know how well this department fared in the RAE.

Good heavens. Who do these parents think they are?

I suppose they think they're the people who pay your salary.

Extraordinary. Well, there's only one way out. We have to face up to the situation. Would you be so good as to fetch a pile of stacker chairs from the other room and set up the large blackboard.

You're going to be absolutely frank with them?

Not at all. I'm going to blockade our intersecting door, take off all my clothes, and escape through the ventilating shaft. Geronimo, Maureen.

Geronimo, Professor Lapping.

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