Securing our borders
Our Head of Campus Security, Brigadier T. W. Trouncing, has praised the University of York’s “human resources compliance team” for its insistence on academic staff thoroughly vetting any foreigners who might choose to visit the campus.
Trouncing described York’s vetting scheme as far from onerous. Academics were merely asked to record who their visitors were, where they came from, and whether they were giving lectures, conducting research or attending meetings. In addition, York dons were asked to record whether their visitors were in possession of a valid visa, the length of time their visitor might be staying, and whether or not any payment was made to them. As a final modest task they were required to produce an account of how many such foreign visitors of different types – students, researchers, or invited speakers – they received during each calendar year.
But did Trouncing have any sympathy at all with the York academic who had anonymously expressed discomfiture at the new restrictions and suggested that the university’s readiness to implement such a gross level of surveillance constituted “a slippery slope”?
“What such critics fail to recognise”, said Trouncing, “is that these rules already represent a liberalisation of procedures. Until recently any Johnny foreigners turning up at York were only allowed to remain on campus after their capacity for sinking or floating had been thoroughly tested in the university’s much-vaunted artificial lake.”
Say hey, say ho
Might our own vice-chancellor have followed the example set by such university heads as Glasgow principal Sir Anton Muscatelli, Sheffield vice-chancellor Sir Keith Burnett and Loughborough vice-chancellor Robert Allison, and joined staff and students on the picket line?
According to an eyewitness, at about 3.30 yesterday afternoon, our vice-chancellor was seen stumbling towards the picket line outside the Administrative Block after returning from a lengthy lunch with the Poppleton branch of the Grand Order of Buffaloes.
This witness reported that the vice-chancellor “initially appeared surprised” to see people standing around the brazier that had been erected outside the Admin Block. However, he seemed to adapt to the situation by readily accepting a grilled cheese toastie from one of the strikers and even appeared to nod along to the collective chant of “Say hey, say ho – UUK has got to go”.
However, the idea that this behaviour indicated a change to our vice-chancellor’s traditionally wholehearted support for UUK was subsequently tempered by a statement from his office in which he made no reference to strikes or picket lines, but merely described the availability of “such excellent cheese toasties” as a “significant contribution to the university’s catering outlets”.
In this regular column, Mr Ted Odgers of the Department of Media and Cultural Studies answers your emailed questions on the University and College Union strike. This one comes from “Puzzled” of Jo Johnson College.
Dear Mr Odgers
Although I am by nature a somewhat reserved member of the academic staff, I have so much enjoyed the chanting and camaraderie and sense of solidarity on the Poppleton picket line that I have begun to wonder whether, once we’ve secured better pension entitlement, we might all go on to overthrow the capitalist state. What do you think?
Mr Odgers replies: I’m afraid that I’m unable to respond to your enquiry as I’m currently on strike and therefore not answering emails. I hope this helps.