Laurie Taylor – 24 May 2018

The official weekly newsletter of the University of Poppleton. Finem respice!

May 24, 2018
Man playing air guitar
Source: Getty/Alamy

Beating bias

In a recent speech given at King’s College London, Sam Gyimah, the minister for universities, gave this example of how academic bias might negatively affect a student’s chance of success: “Let’s say you happen to be quite right-wing, but your lecturer disagrees with your politics. You can suddenly become quite conscious about expressing your views because they mark your essays and grade you.”

Our Head of Staff Accountability, Mr Keith Snook, told The Poppletonian that after reading Mr Gyimah’s words, he had decided upon immediate remedial action. As a first step, he would provide students with the names of those serving academics whose distinctive stances might mean that their essay grades were contaminated by bias. Although this list of ideological affiliations was still “far from complete”, Mr Snook believed that it provided “a valuable starting point”.

Interim list of staff affiliations

Mr Ted Odgers – Head-banging Leftie

Professor G. Lapping – Ratepayers Alliance

Dr Rebecca Stride – Out and Proud

Dr K. D. Strang – Independence for Yorkshire

Mr T. W. Outhwaite – Flag-waving Brexiteer

Dr Derek Quintock – Innocent Bystander

Professor F. R. Beavis – Second International Trotskyist

Dr C. D. Kenworthy – Nut Allergy

Dr D. W. Lickcheese – Capitalist Running Dog

Professor Gordon Greenwich – Sixth-day Adventist

Dr D. W. B. Bentinck – Crypto-Fascist

Dr Leonora Pullover – Gender Re-Alignment

Professor Doug Gunter – Elvis Lives

Cry freedom

“Hats off to Sam Gyimah.”

That was how Ted Odgers of the Department of Media and Cultural Studies reacted to the news that the minister for universities had issued a public warning about the necessity of preserving freedom of speech on university campuses.

Mr Odgers told The Poppletonian that although he had lost count of the number of occasions on which Mr Gyimah had issued identical warnings, he respected the minister’s courage. “It takes guts to announce your unqualified support for something as contentious as freedom of speech. One hopes the minister will not stop there. How refreshing if he could now risk even more controversy by announcing his unqualified support for motherhood and apple pie.”

Degree day ceremonies

Members of academic staff are asked to make all graduating students aware of the following additions to the list of procedures for this year’s ceremonies:

  1. Any graduating student who expects to be absent on degree day must report this likelihood to the Ceremonial Convener. When absences are not notified in advance, it can readily lead to an unfortunate “shunting effect”, which last year meant that 47 graduands were, as they processed across the platform, incorrectly named and, in 14 cases, erroneously gendered.
  2. Remind graduands that they may be photographed with a professor of their choice for a fee of £20. This offer does not, however, apply this year to Professor Dibson of the Anthropology Department, who is currently of the opinion that repeated exposure to photography has partially robbed him of his identity.
  3. Remind graduands that our vice-chancellor will mingle informally with parents and graduates after the ceremony. To avoid any repetition of the unfortunate encounters last year when the vice-chancellor was not recognised by some of those he approached, you are advised that he is 5ft 10in tall, rotund, heavily jowled, and has a deep duelling scar running down his right cheek.

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