Torture threat to history don

May 27, 2010

Allegations that Dr Ted Marmoset of our Department of History (1832-1886 only) was subjected to "actions short of torture" by members of the university's Research Coordination Directorate have been strenuously denied.

It appears that the allegations arose as a result of Dr Marmoset's being asked for details of his current research by Roger Scrutiny, the Head of the Directorate.

This request, Mr Scrutiny told The Poppletonian, was entirely in line with Professor Rosemary Deem's insistence in the Association of University Administrators' journal, Perspective, that "research activity ... can no longer be left to the whims and fortunes of individual academics".

However, in his reply, Dr Marmoset insisted that his research was an entirely private matter ("it's mine, all mine") and that he was not going to tell anyone about it in case it was purloined ("no one's getting their thieving hands on my ideas").

Following this response, Dr Marmoset was asked to attend "a correction meeting" in the Research Directorate where he claims he was threatened with "third-degree methods" unless he revealed his research object.

As we went to press, there appeared to be no resolution of the dispute in sight, although Mr Scrutiny has issued a short statement claiming that "more research is needed".

What's all this about Nottingham?

Jamie Targett, our thrusting Director of Corporate Affairs, has described the time and effort spent by the University of Nottingham on devising its new mission statement as "dangerously close to skimping".

He agreed that the decision by Thomas Loya, Nottingham's Director of Planning and Management Information, to involve "several hundred people" in the exercise was "reasonable" and also felt able to commend Loya's strategy of holding extended "discussion groups, forums, face-to-face consultations and online discussion arenas" before deciding on the precise words that should go into the two-sentence mission statement.

However, Targett described the nine months devoted to the project by Nottingham as "seriously short term". Poppleton, he pointed out, had devoted a full two years of debate to such a vital matter. Without this extended timetable it would not have been possible to produce the university's brand new mission statement: "We're better than other universities for all sorts of reasons that we haven't got the space to go into in a mission statement. So there."

How big is David Willetts' brain?

Patricia Loab, the Head of our Neuroscience Department, has unveiled new research showing that there is little empirical evidence for the repeated claim that David Willetts, the new universities and science minister, possesses two brains.

In what is believed to be a major neuro-scientific breakthrough, Dr Loab applied statements made by Mr Willetts to a computer-simulated model of a double cortex and documented the areas of the brain that "lit up" under the impact of each statement.

This procedure allowed her to establish that the formulation of Mr Willetts' recent pronouncements on cuts in university funding and student places required rather less than a single functioning brain.

Thought for the Week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

"As part of his Sexual Healing seminar last week, Dr Hans Overman chose to illustrate the attractions of extended foreplay with a picture of a fellating bat. We regret any offence this may have caused. In order to prevent a repetition of this error of judgement, Dr Overman has been placed under armed guard for the rest of his life."

lolsoc@dircon.co.uk.

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