Laurie Taylor Column

January 21, 2005

"Universities bend over backwards not to be judgemental. If universities can't provide an ethical model, what value is their education?" - Steven Schwartz, vice-chancellor of Brunel University.

Ah, Curtis. Please take a seat. What do you say?

I'm sorry?

What do you say when your supervisor offers you a seat?

Thank you?

That's right. "Thank you". Now, Curtis, I want to have a word about your progress at Brunel. How are you getting on?

Everything seems to be all right.

Not any longer, Curtis. Not at the new judgemental Brunel. Oh no. I've been looking very carefully at your work, and it's certainly not "all right". You can hardly spell, let alone write a coherent sentence.

Most of your essay work shows some evidence of plagiarism.

You make virtually no contribution to seminars. Your record of attendance at lectures is poor. You appear to be without an original thought in your head, and most of your tutors can't understand why you came to university in the first place when all the evidence suggests that you'd be far better suited to selling hamburgers.

But...

Don't "but" me, Curtis. I know a snivelling second-rate time-server when I see one. And while you're here, I'd also like to have a word with you about your ethics.

I'm not doing it any longer. I've switched to aesthetics.

I'm not talking courses, Curtis. I'm talking life. I'm talking about your excessive drinking, your unreadiness to pay your debts, your theft of two cans of baked beans from your corridor kitchen, and the crass manner in which you are two-timing Jane Summers. Have you no shame, Curtis? Are you incapable of telling the difference between right and wrong?

Is there anything else?

Yes, Curtis there is. And I don't want to have to tell you twice. GET YOUR BLEEDING HAIR CUT.

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