Our vice-chancellor was yesterday forced to apologise to David Lammy, the new Minister for Higher Education, for what he described as "a most unfortunate clerical error".
According to inside sources, this "error" arose when the vice-chancellor emailed his personal assistant, Mrs Dilworth, from a Vatican City conference on widening participation and asked her to send a congratulatory letter to the new minister.
He stressed that this letter should refer to his "delight" at Mr Lammy's appointment and go on to say how much he shared the new minister's belief that a university should be a privilege but also a right for all young people, no matter what their class, income or ethnic background. He concluded by asking Mrs Dilworth to underline the phrase "ethnic background" and then copy in "some of the same blah blah about maintaining standards that we sent to Bill Rammell, Alan Johnson, Margaret Hodge and Tessa Thingy".
It appears that this last sentence was inadvertently included in the letter sent to Mr Lammy.
Mrs Dilworth was unavailable for comment yesterday, but an administrative colleague claimed to have heard the sound of hysterical laughter coming from her office.
C Block, Poppleton University, is currently home to the Department of Cultural and Media Studies, but it was originally designed as a covered parking lot to relieve the overflow from the Human Resources Centre.
Traces of this historical legacy are still pleasingly evident in the yellow numbered bays dotted throughout its interior and in the automatic-raise arm barrier that is used to control the flow of disgruntled students attempting to enter the Inquiries Office.
Later modernist additions to the traditional building include such features as the distinctively odoured polyurethane floor covering, the uninhibited use of gypsum plasterboard and the reliance upon retro neon strip lighting for all the common areas.
Architectural critics have also admired the manner in which an overall unity has been brought to the disparate elements of the edifice by the consistent application of bulk-coated ecru emulsion paint to walls, doors, ceilings and the junctions between windows and their frames.
What other architectural gems are hidden away on campus? Let us know. Mark your correspondence "Cladding".
Some anxiety was aroused this week by the news that Gerald Porteous, our Chief Finance Officer, was visiting Reykjavik.
But the suggestion that his visit was linked to the university's investment policy was quashed by a spokesperson from the Finance Office, who told The Poppletonian: "Mr Porteous is simply enjoying a late-autumn break in a resort of his choice."
The spokesperson went on to deny the "malicious" allegation that Mr Porteous had been in the queue to see Father Christmas.
How will the university's bankruptcy affect your pension? p14.
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)
I was so sad to learn this week that our incumbent Professor of English had, as they say, "dropped dead on the job". His funeral was very moving as indeed was the epitaph composed by his former students. Here it is:
"Despised and forgotten, by some ye may be, but the spot that contains you, Is sacred to we"
(It's oddly touching, isn't it?)