In the wake of allegations from former students that Ralph Miliband’s lectures on politics at the London School of Economics may have amounted to “Marxist indoctrination” comes news that a Poppleton graduate is to sue our Philosophy Department for its role in making him an existentialist.
According to the legal submission, former student Tony Bloke is claiming that before he attended the third-year course on existentialism given by senior lecturer in philosophy Dr D.W. Dingbat, he was a normal well- adjusted young man who enjoyed good health and found no difficulty in making decisions about his future life.
However, after two terms of listening to Dr Dingbat, he became overwhelmed by the feeling that he was looking at himself through a keyhole. He duly reported to the Medical Centre, where tests confirmed that he was displaying many of the symptoms clinically associated with “incipient angst”.
Mr Bloke claims that he initially kept this “angst” to himself and began to think about seeking redress from the university only when he found that he was no longer able to decide whether or not to get out of bed in the morning for fear that either decision might be taken in “bad faith”.
Dr Dingbat was unavailable to comment, but a departmental spokesperson confirmed that he was resting at home after recovering from a brief bout of nausea.
First among equals
“It would be difficult,” said Louise Bimpson, the head of our ever- expanding Human Resources team, “to think of a phrase that more adequately conveyed this university’s view of the relative importance of teaching and research.”
Ms Bimpson was referring to the recent assertion by a spokesman for the University of East Anglia that teaching roles in that institution enjoyed “parity of esteem” with research roles.
At Poppleton, Ms Bimpson said, such “parity of esteem” was evident in the university’s readiness to allow teaching-only staff the same access to covered walkways, bicycle sheds and senior common rooms (except Tuesdays and Thursdays) as that currently enjoyed by research academics.
She denied that the recent decision to designate some staff toilets as “research staff only” was in any way incompatible with this commitment to “parity of esteem”.
“What we’re talking about here is not discrimination but difference. It’s obvious to anyone that the teaching-only academics are culturally differentiated from research academics by virtue of their total inability to gain promotion. This means that they might well feel somewhat uncomfortable sharing intimate toilet facilities with those who come from a different culture to their own. We like to call it ‘separate development’.”
Thought for the week
(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)
I’m delighted to say that our vice-chancellor will join us next week to discuss the importance of the new British Academy “Born Global” research programme to halt the “years of declining capability in language competence”. He has provocatively called his talk “Pourquoi sont les Anglais si pauvre a parlant autres langages?” Tout le monde sont bienvenue.