Rumours that the publication of Lord Browne's review of higher education might have prompted a number of unfortunate developments at our university have been dismissed as "hysterical scaremongering" by Jamie Targett, our relatively thrusting Director of Corporate Affairs.
He told our reporter, Keith Ponting (30), that he was "naturally saddened" by the news that five members of our humanities faculty had lost their lives in what he described as "an ill-conceived attempt" to practise "free-falling" from the cooling tower. But he insisted that this incident was in no way related to the weekend's accidental death by drowning of our Chief Finance Officer or the "disturbing news" that our Head of Medieval Studies had lost his life after falling upon one of the department's historic swords.
Targett insisted that the Browne Review should be seen as "a positive challenge going forward" and announced that the vice-chancellor would be issuing a similar message of hope and confidence just as soon as he returned from his current brief vacation in the Bermuda Triangle.
Read all about it
Nancy Harbinger, our Deputy Head of Student Experience, has welcomed the "major initiative" in student experience recently taken by the University of East Anglia. Under this newly announced scheme, all 5,000 first-year students at the university have been issued with a free copy of In the Country of Men by Hisham Matar, a novel previously shortlisted for the Man Booker prize, in the "hope that it will spark conversation between students regardless of what they are studying".
Ms Harbinger announced that Poppleton had chosen to duplicate the East Anglian initiative by immediately distributing a copy of The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris to all its new undergraduates.
She told The Poppletonian that she had decided to choose a book that would not only prompt conversation but also one that might best capture some important aspects of staff-student relationships in the "brave new world of a an under-funded, debt-ridden, post-Browne university".
Thought for the Week
(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)
I hope you will agree with me that a little humour is not out of place in these troubled times. So, here's an observation that helped brighten my day.
"Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana."
The tipping point
News that our university raised a grand total of £42,500 in gifts and legacies last year has been welcomed by our Head of Fund-raising, Mr C.B. Gladhand. Not only does this represent a 0.06 per cent rise on last year's contributions, it also helps to offset the £65,800 per annum salary paid to Mr Gladhand.
Obituaries: an apology
Please note that owing to the number of self-inflicted staff deaths on campus during the past week (see main story), we are unable for reasons of space to publish our usual obituaries column. Details of last week's mortalities may, however, be seen in a special supplement available on request from the Director of our Inter-Faith Crematorium.