Laurie Taylor Column

July 8, 2005

Cardiff University is analysing the reasons for an 18 per cent first-year student dropout in social sciences - The Times Higher, July 1

From: Jamie Targett, Head of Corporate Development I'm delighted to say that the University Dropout Committee has completed its analysis of first-year student resignations from Poppleton for the past academic year.

The overall figure was a disappointing per cent, but the committee noted that this was a marked improvement on 2004 when the figure rose to an unacceptable 44 per cent following a mass walkout from the Department of Media and Cultural Studies.

Following extensive discussion, the committee decided to take a number of measures to combat the possibility of the current decremental wastage being repeated in the coming academic year.

1. All new 2005 students will be required to participate in a four-week intensive training course on the spirit and ethos of Poppleton, during which they will master the campus anthem Merrily We Go Along .

2. All new 2005 students will also attend a series of special Prospectus Discrepancies seminars in which minor disjunctions between prospectus claims and campus reality will be systematically obscured. Subjects to be covered include: a. Where's the swimming pool?

b. Why are there 17 people in my face-to-face seminar?

c. Which library?

d. Where's Doctor Piercemuller?

Although these measures are expected to prove beneficial, the committee noted that many dropouts left Poppleton "on the spur of the moment".

Comments by ex-students included such phrases as: "What time's the next bleeding train?"; "Stuff this for a lark" and "Anyway, I'm off."

This spontaneous form of wastage does not allow the university to deal with the specifics of student complaints. It was therefore decided that as a temporary measure, all newly arriving students this autumn would be fitted with a discreet electronic tag that would be monitored from the Bursar's office.

I hope this clarifies the situation.

J. Targett MBA (Uttoxeter), MBA (Old Sarum), MBA (Tesco Home Learning)

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