Laurie Taylor

June 13, 2013

We aim to please

“I merely ushered him outside. The suggestion that I ejected him is a gross slander.”

This was how Professor Lapping, of the Department of Media and Cultural Studies, sought to justify his recent decision to deny a member of staff on a zero-hours contract the chance to use the full-time staff toilets.

When pressed by our reporter Keith Ponting (30), Lapping agreed that his action might seem to confirm the view recently expressed by Vicky Blake, head of the University and College Union’s anti-casualisation committee, that not allowing hourly paid staff to use the same toilets as full-time staff was indicative of a lack of respect.

However, Lapping insisted that the problem had arisen only because of a difference in toilet utilisation styles. “Whereas hourly staff use the toilet qua toilet, permanent staff members use the resource as an opportunity for recuperation and reflection, as a chance to part their hair, eat a peach and roll their trousers. They hardly wish such personal activities to be regarded by a bunch of people who, according to Ms Blake, are suffering from ‘insecurity, instability and hunger’.”

Lapping also queried the need for zero-hours contract staff to use toilets. “If they’re being paid by the hour, then they should surely deal with such indulgent matters in their own time.”

(Professor Lapping gets up a lot during the night.)

Any questions you’d like to ask us?

Louise Bimpson, the Corporate Director of our ever-expanding Human Resources Department, has rejected the suggestion from Hillary Shaw, of Harper Adams University, that perverse university appointment decisions might be remedied by conducting interviews by telephone “so that the ‘face’ confers no advantage”.

Ms Bimpson said she had read Dr Shaw’s letter in Times Higher Education with interest but felt that the need for such measures at Poppleton had been eradicated by her department’s publication of a list of characteristics that should “always be ignored” in making a staff appointment. Apart from facial appearance, these included: gender, age, weight, social skills, lecturing ability, administrative skills, questioning disposition, displays of wisdom, commitment to students and appetite for knowledge.

Once these elements had been disregarded, the interviewers could proceed to concentrate on the essential criterion for appointment: the candidate’s proven capacity for churning out very large numbers of unread articles in peer-reviewed journals.

You make me feel brand new

Our Deputy Head of Brand Management, Georgina Edsel, has generously offered to assist Leeds Metropolitan University in its search for a brand-new brand name.

Ms Edsel said she thoroughly understood the university’s desire to lose the word “metropolitan”, which carried such unfortunate resonances of the municipal (as in Baths and Refuse Collection).

As alternatives, she favoured “Leeds Somewhere University”, with its strong vocational promise, or perhaps the more openly competitive “Leeds Leads Leeds University”.

There might also be grounds for a title that captured the vigorous student life at the university (Jump Leeds), or one that carried an injunctive resonance (Leeds Must), or one with a more promissory note (Leeds A Horse). She did not, however, favour titles that applied to specific groups of applicants such as those from across the border (Leeds On MacDuff).

She hoped that these suggestions “Met” the university’s requirements.

Thought for the week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

“Following the introduction of open-plan offices at Poppleton, we are pleased to report that our ecumenical campus chaplain is making a number of specially designed cubicles available for confidential encounters with students. (Applicants should indicate the date of their last confession.)”

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