Lord Mandelson's insistence that universities were merely "crying wolf" over the impact of the new funding cuts would appear to be contradicted by the recent experience of our Director of Finance, Mr D.C.F. Tapstock.
In an exclusive interview, Mr Tapstock told The Poppletonian that on arriving for work last Thursday, he found his attention caught by a spine-tingling howl emanating from the anteroom that houses the university's funding resources.
"Imagine my surprise", said Mr Tapstock, "when I flung open the door and found a fully mature wolf with its fangs buried deep into our existing unit of resource."
Since Mr Tapstock's claim, there have been unconfirmed reports of wolves being sighted in redundancy packages, the capital expenditure programme and in the departments of medieval studies, theology for business and chemistry.
Our Head of Personal Development and Director of the university's Well Being Centre, Jennifer Doubleday, has announced a new package of therapeutic measures specially tailored to meet the needs of staff who have recently been made redundant by the university's Crying Wolf policy. These measures include:
- Indian Champissage
This advanced technique involves the application of massage to the upper arms, neck, scalp, face and ears. Reports suggest that this not only gently eases away the traumatic pain of compulsory redundancy but also promotes localised hair growth.
This therapeutic intervention disperses the anguish of redundancy by taking affected staff back to the moment of their conception when they were completely untroubled by thoughts of unemployment, wagelessness and imminent destitution.
- Cuddle Therapy
Scientific tests indicate that cuddling and hugging by an authority figure helps ease the stress and tension generated by arbitrary dismissal. Our new package, therefore, offers all newly redundant staff a cuddle (or a long hug) from our thrusting Director of Corporate Affairs, Jamie Targett. (Please note that this course may be over-subscribed as several redundant staff members have already indicated a wish to place their hands around Mr Targett's neck.)
Hegel, don't bother me
Our Head of Curriculum Development, Janet Fluellen, has welcomed the decision by the University of Sussex to drop research-led teaching in English social history before 1700 and European history before 1900.
Speaking to our reporter, Keith Ponting (30), Ms Fluellen said that she regarded such arbitrary intellectual cutbacks as "a welcome acknowledgement of the new economic reality".
They were thoroughly consonant with our own university's recent decision to suspend any courses in the philosophy degree that related to philosophers whose surnames fell within the A-M alphabetical range.
"Nobody", continued Ms Fluellen, "wishes to denigrate the significance of Aristotle, Hume, Kant or Locke for philosophical thought. But courses that still include Plato, Russell and Zeno of Citium can hardly be accused of skimping."
Thought for the Week
(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)
Worried that you may be the next to be redeployed? Here's a little message of hope: "FEAR is an acronym for 'False Evidence Appearing Real'?"