Laurie Taylor Column

April 20, 2001

UNIVERSITY OF POPPLETON

From: The Office of the Vice-Chancellor

As you will be aware from the emails that have emanated from this office in recent weeks, our Open Day will be held this year on Saturday, April 28.

The Advisory Committee on Open Day (ACOD) has now concluded its discussions and issued the following set of directives.

Staff Selection : The committee has deemed 47 academic members of staff as "unrepresentative" of the Poppleton ethos and requested that they absent themselves from the campus on April 28. Attendance is compulsory for all other academic staff.

Dress : In view of the interpretation given to last year's injunction that dress should be "smart casual", it has been deemed that this year's dress code will be "very smart". Readers and above are, as before, required to wear full and appropriate academic dress. (Hoods are optional.)

Book Displays : Topping up of departmental book displays should be handled with discretion to avoid the sort of concern aroused by the sociology department's decision last year to supplement its staff collection with titles by Anthony Giddens.

Laboratories : All academic staff working in laboratories should wear slightly stained white coats and conduct experiments with popular rather than academic appeal. (The iron filings and magnet demonstration in the physics laboratory last year was a particular crowd-pleaser.)

Theoretical disciplines : Academic subjects with no relevance to the real world should endeavour to construct imaginative displays along the lines of the 1998 theology department competition "Guess the number of angels that would fit on a pinhead".

Language : Staff should indicate their professional status by eschewing monosyllabic words in casual conversation with visitors. Senior administration members should be referred to at all times by their formal titles rather than by familiar terms such as "Tinpot Dictator", "Jobs-worth" and "Psycho".

Sincerely The Vice-Chancellor

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