Laurie Taylor Column

May 23, 2003

From: The office of the vice-chancellor.

Subject: Course closures.

I am writing to let you know of some recent decisions taken by the new Course Closures Committee (me and the bursar).

As you will remember, the committee operates with the three criteria for university degree validity, developed in recent months by the two major political parties.

Anglo-Saxon studies
There seems little that can be done here. Professor Godalming did seek to persuade the committee that all his undergraduate courses concentrated on the period 400-900AD. But the committee felt that this was dangerously close to the year 1000 and therefore must be regarded as having "Medieval" resonances.
Decision: course termination .

Contemporary French philosophy
The committee invited Professor Dugarry to prepare a list of some of the "practical" aspects of the work of the nine philosophers listed in his handbook, but this was not forthcoming. We were left with little alternative but to declare this course, in the full sense of the term, "Useless".
Decision: course termination.

Tourism studies
Doctor Ritblat insisted that a significant proportion of his graduates went on to jobs in the travel industry and that his degree course was not therefore strictly Useless. We were, however, persuaded by the presence of a major option on Disneyland to regard this as a "Mickey Mouse" course.
Decision: course termination.

The unfettered pursuit of truth and knowledge
It was suggested to Professor Liebniz that he might do something to moderate the provocative title of his degree course by changing it to "the unfettered pursuit of truth and knowledge as an aid to British economic growth". His failure to adopt this proposal left us no choice.
Decision: unfettered course termination.

I hope all the above is clear. The committee will, of course, be continuing with its analysis, so if you know of any Poppleton degree courses that might fit any of the critical categories (Useless, Mickey Mouse or Medieval) please contact the Bursar immediately.

The vice-chancellor.

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