The voice of the Union

June 4, 2009

Following the UCU annual congress, we welcome a guest column from this university's UCU Branch Secretary, Gerry Loadbearing.

I took strong exception to the editorial in last week's Poppletonian, which suggested that the current leadership of this great union "might have difficulty running a whelk stall".

Although it's true that the UCU is making an economically absurd claim for an 8 per cent pay increase, and although it is also true that the ballot on industrial action to support this claim had to be cancelled for "legal reasons", there is no truth in the rumour that the speed with which the ballot was cancelled had anything to do with the union's belief that it would have lost anyway, and certainly no truth in the suggestion that we're now falling back with a great deal of relief on the old chestnut of a boycott of Israeli universities in the certain knowledge that such a motion could not be implemented for "legal reasons".

Finally, there is quite definitely no truth in the scurrilous rumour that the union headquarters' staff will shortly be unveiling a plaque to "legal reasons". I hope this clarifies the situation.

Who do they think they are?

"It's sheer snobbery." That was the reaction of our Deputy Head of External Marketing, Professor Mike Gladhand, to the recent motion at the UCU annual congress calling for the title of "professor" to be bestowed only upon academic staff.

Support for Professor Gladhand came from the Head of Car Parking Administration, Professor Jake Stanchion, who described the motion as further evidence of "academic arrogance". "Anyone", he added, "who thinks you need more brains to teach Medieval German than you do to run this university's car-parking system is talking through their exit barrier."

However, Professor Lapping of the Department of Media and Cultural Studies, who supported the motion, spoke of the dangers of "chair dilution". "Many of these so-called professors in administration couldn't hold a mace to a real professor. They completely lack the essential professorial attributes of reflective prevarication, disciplinary myopia, and a tried and tested ability to walk very slowly."

Thought for the Week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

Mr Ted Odgers of Media Studies writes to say that although he agrees with last week's thought that "There is no 'I' in TEAM", he would like to point out that there is a "ME". (I must say that I find this exactly the sort of nitpicking that can so easily give this university a bad name.)

Nude poet probe

Following the receipt by our vice-chancellor of 40 anonymous emails pointing out that the current nominee for Poet-in-Residence at the University of Poppleton, Ms Flora Bacup, had stripped naked and then danced provocatively on the warm buffet counter at The Grapes public house, Middle Poppleton, it has been announced that the post will be readvertised.

In her defence, Ms Bacup claimed that the unfortunate incident occurred nearly two weeks ago when attitudes to naked provocative dancing were rather more permissive. "I would hope", she added, "that any final judgment of my worth will be based on the quality of my verse rather than the quantity of my underwear."

Ms Bacup will be reading her new poem on life in Middle Poppleton - The Avenue Not Taken - at 6.30pm this Friday in the Obama Dining Hall.

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