Shock call by Poppleton don

September 18, 2014

In an exclusive interview with our reporter, Keith Ponting (30), Professor Gordon Lapping of the Department of Media and Cultural Studies has spoken frankly about the need for academics to “stand up and be counted”.

Lapping said he’d been “moved to action” by a number of developments. He instanced the treatment of Thomas Docherty, professor of English and comparative literature at the University of Warwick, who has now been banned from the Warwick campus for the past nine months, even though the university management had still to provide any public account of the reasons for “such McCarthyite treatment”.

His concerns had also been raised by an article in Times Higher Education by Fred Inglis, honorary professor of cultural history at the University of Warwick, which had lamented the manner in which the current pusillanimity of academics was preventing their “noticing that the end of the world is nigh”.

The final straw had been an essay by novelist and historian Marina Warner in the London Review of Books in which she described her recent decision to resign from the University of Essex as prompted by the spectacle of arrogant and ignorant managers imposing their will upon academics in a manner that reminded her of the world of Chinese communist corporatism.

It was for these reasons, said Professor Lapping, that he had decided to stage “a radical personal protest”. At precisely midday this Friday he intends to stand directly behind the university’s principal cooling tower and make a clear-cut V-sign in the direction of the vice-chancellor’s office.

Jamie Targett, our Director of Corporate Affairs, said that he was unable to comment as, according to his records, Professor Lapping had long ago been banned from the campus for his persistent failure “to salute senior managers”.

 

Hello, good morning and welcome

A new “student welcoming programme” is to be introduced at Poppleton following the recent analysis by research consultancy YouthSight, which found a strong correlation between students’ perception of their university in their first month and the likelihood of their dropping out at a later stage.

Our Deputy Head of Student Experience, Nancy Harbinger, announced that this year’s new student arrivals would no longer be herded into large unventilated rooms and made to wait for over half an hour before being required to listen to an unnamed academic telling them that they were no longer at school and so must stand on their own two feet and find their own way to the library.

There would also be additional proactive measures. Large illuminated signs would inform new students of the ready availability of suicide counselling services, and academics who still enjoyed the use of their own teeth would be encouraged to smile at any young person they failed to recognise.

Ms Harbinger also confirmed that this year’s new arrivals would all sport a distinctive “L” badge. This would replace the traditional yellow armband that had been abandoned on the grounds of “historical sensitivity”.

 

Thought for the week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

This week’s seminar will be addressed by a senior member of the administrative staff from the University of Plymouth who will clarify the current position of the vice-chancellor and the chair of governors and the acting chair of governors. Venue: The Personal Development Suite. Time: 7pm to midnight.

lolsoc@dircon.co.uk

Times Higher Education free 30-day trial

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Vice Principal DURHAM UNIVERSITY
Reader/Professor of Race and Education LEEDS BECKETT UNIVERSITY
Professor of Teacher Education LEEDS BECKETT UNIVERSITY

Most Commented

question marks PhD study

Selecting the right doctorate is crucial for success. Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman share top 10 tips on how to pick a PhD

Pencil lying on open diary

Requesting a log of daily activity means that trust between the institution and the scholar has broken down, says Toby Miller

India, UK, flag

Sir Keith Burnett reflects on what he learned about international students while in India with the UK prime minister

Application for graduate job
Universities producing the most employable graduates have been ranked by companies around the world in the Global University Employability Ranking 2016
Construction workers erecting barriers

Directly linking non-EU recruitment to award levels in teaching assessment has also been under consideration, sources suggest