Charges of light-bulb brigade

February 21, 2003

This week, The Diary brings you intelligence of what the country's academic registrars are doing when they're not shuffling papers - they're all exchanging puerile jokes about each others' students.

The following is a selection of their answers to the question: how many students does it take to change a light bulb at the following institutions?

Cambridge University: Three - one to mix the Martinis, one to call the electrician and one to call Daddy to pay the bill.

University College London: Two - one to change the bulb and the other to say loudly how he did it as well as an Oxbridge student.

Leicester University: Four - one to change the bulb and three to complain bitterly that it would not have been allowed to happen at Oxbridge, so please give us some funding. Please.

St Andrews University: Three - one to call the butler and two to arrange a tailor in Rome to design and make new suits for the special occasion.

If a light bulb in a major building blows, the number increases to , to allow for a brass band playing the Last Post and five Sun reporters. The following day, The Sun will contain a story along the lines of "Will's pals in blown bulb horror".

Imperial College: Eight - it's not that one isn't smart enough to do it, it's just that they're all violently twitching from too much stress to achieve coordinated movement.

Umist: Five - one to design a light bulb that never needs changing, one to figure out how to illuminate the rest of Greater Manchester using said light bulb, two to instal it, and one to write the computer program that controls the wall switch.

Institute of Psychiatry: One - but the light bulb has to really want to change.

Plymouth University: Six - one to change it and five to campaign to make light-bulb changing a new degree subject.

Liverpool University: Only one - but he gets ten course credits for doing it.

Sussex University: None - light-bulb changing isn't specified as a transferable skill.

De Montfort University: Seven - two to change the bulb and five to write an interpretive modern drama about the experience.

Central School of Speech and Drama: 12 actors (three with walk-on parts, one bulb-carrier), two musicians, one sound designer and one stage manager.

It's a major (assessed) production. Two external examiners to watch and make notes. One video technician to record.

University of North London: Nobody knows - the light bulbs stay with the institution longer than the students.

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