Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Crying Woolf

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Crying Woolf

Article excerpt

"I've never heard of vacillating sexual identity. I was simply following orders."

That was how our Head of Campus Security, Brigadier T.W. Trouncing, responded to critics of his decision to interrupt Professor F.R. Beavis during his second-year lecture on Virginia Woolf's Orlando and have him escorted from the campus.

We understand that the "seize and escort" orders were given by our Director of Corporate Affairs, Jamie Targett, who was apparently incensed by Professor Beavis' declaration that he "rather agreed" with the suggestion in Times Higher Education from Nigel Tubbs, professor of philosophical and educational thought at the University of Winchester, that liberal arts tutors should be prepared, in these instrumentalist times, to speak of their subject as "useless".

Although Targett was unavailable for comment, a spokesperson for his office pointed out that the employment of the word "useless" was "offering a hostage to fortune". "Once people start using the word," he cautioned, "it could be applied willy-nilly to such obviously useful matters as the National Student Survey, Key Information Sets, research impact, the Quality Assurance Agency's monitoring of for-profit universities, David Willetts' AAB policy, and the distinctive nature of our very own vice- chancellor's contribution to the development of this university."

Shock treatment

Our first aid teams were rushed into action last week in response to campus-wide cases of severe shock among academics who had read a new report from the National Audit Office on the management of the government department responsible for higher education.

According to this report, less than a third of all civil servants in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills believed that the "department was well managed".

"This is staggering news," said Professor Gordon Lapping of our Department of Media and Cultural Studies, as he awaited treatment for incipient hysteria in the Medical Suite. …

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