Our vice-chancellor has described academic suspicions about the significance of David Willetts' regular meetings with private providers of higher education as "absurdly paranoid".
He agrees that "on the face of it", the university and science minister's 12 meetings with major UK and US private providers between June 2010 and June 2011, when taken together with the decision of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to redact the bulk of the notes of these meetings on the grounds of "commercial interests", and when seen in conjunction with Mr Willetts' recent meeting with the US private equity firm Warburg Pincus, might "just suggest" that the minister was single-mindedly intent upon flogging UK higher education to the nearest private bidder.
However, says the vice-chancellor in a written statement: "These suggestions are as unreasonable as the notion that my own regular friendly meetings with the wholly admirable managing director of Poppleton Pork Products are a prelude to this university abandoning its ridiculous current commitment to intellectual integrity and becoming little more than a for-profit sausage-trade induction facility." [Mrs Dilworth, please redact as appropriate.]
A brand new brand name
A big Poppletonian thank you to all those who took part in our competition to find a name for the new staff-student meeting place, a central part of our university's new strategic commitment to staff and students having a place to meet.
There were many excellent suggestions and our three judges certainly had their work cut out selecting a worthy winner. But after careful consideration and not a little head-scratching, they eventually decided that the winning entry was: The New Staff-Student Meeting Place.
In a statement accompanying the announcement, the judges said that they had been impressed by the manner in which this entry "had perfectly captured the essence of the new staff-student meeting place".
(The judges also revealed that they had given serious consideration to the rather shorter appellation, The Hub. However, research indicated that the term was already in use to describe similar facilities at 36 other UK universities and so was deemed to be "innovatively deficient".)
Thought for the Week
(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)
Although I'm sure we all welcome the legislation that allows members of academic staff to work beyond the normal retirement age, I'm afraid that following last week's unfortunate multiple accident, it will not now be possible to admit anyone over the age of 85 to the weekly Zumba class.
Our new logo: the hunt goes on!
As announced in a previous issue of The Poppletonian, the hunt for a new logo to replace our present "Pulling Together" formulation is under way.
In this week's special seminar, which will be led as usual by our Deputy Director of Logo Development, Roger Placement, consideration will be given to the merits of the "freestanding triple-effect logo". Examples will include the University of Bedfordshire's "Choice. Opportunity. Experience"; the University of Wolverhampton's "Knowledge. Innovation. Enterprise"; the University of Bristol's "Learning, discovery and enterprise"; and the Royal Academy of Music's "Shake. Rattle. Roll". Everybody welcome.