Laurie Taylor column

July 12, 2002

Vice-chancellors plan to charter special first-class train carriages to convey them to their annual residential meeting in Aberystwyth - THES , July 5.

ACADEMIC INNOVATIONS PLC

We are pleased to offer the following aids to vice-chancellors who wish to avoid exposure to everyday life...

The UUK Mobile
This deceptively spacious bulletproof electric car enables vice-chancellors to travel around campus without fear of being detected (or shot) by members of academic staff. In place of the standard see-through windows, the Mobile is fitted with full-length mirrors so that the outside world is completely excluded while the incumbent has the satisfaction of being able to stare constantly at their own reflection.

The Committee Cubicle
An awareness that vice-chancellors may from time to time be forced into contact with ordinary human beings during the course of essential meetings has led to the development of the Committee Cubicle. This portable hardboard device takes the form of a totally enclosed sedan chair. Fitted earphones and a microphone allow the occupant of the cubicle to intervene effectively in discussions without any danger of personal contamination.

The Great Excluder
Vice-chancellors have conventionally guarded their office from sudden or unexpected visits by employing a gatekeeper or a "Maureen". In today's more egalitarian times, this device is sometimes not sufficient to deter lay visitors.

To deal with this contingency, we are pleased to offer our specially developed Inside Moat. This 40ft-deep trench filled with murky water is constructed around the immediate environs of the vice-chancellor's office and is fitted with a state-of-the-art drawbridge that can be readily lowered when other vice-chancellors choose to visit.

Traditional Devices
For those vice-chancellors who prefer more traditional methods of avoiding contact with the rest of the human race, we are pleased to recommend the Athenaeum Club, which is located at 107, Pall Mall (Entrance in Waterloo Place by the Duke of York Steps).

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