Exclusive Interview with VC of shambolic University of Weeengland: part 1

“Professor Woodley, thank you for agreeing to this exclusive interview with me, Jean Tully, Higher Education correspondent for the New Times. The academic year has not yet begun and already Weeengland is reeling from a string of crises: allegations of corruption, sexual misconduct, mismanagement, dereliction of duty and violation of the terms and conditions of staff contracts. Let’s begin with the charges of corruption, and sexual misconduct. The recently retired Head of Registry, Jonathan Tyson, claims that at least three senior Professors have in his words ‘shagged their way to the top.’ Is he right?”

“Jean, it is always a pleasure to speak with you. Weeengland is, as you know, a University with its eye on the future. We ceaselessly grope after new opportunities, we work tirelessly with local communities, and we teach students to become active citizens in an ever-changing world. Mr Tyson was previously responsible for student recruitment. He resigned because of his failures. It is unfortunate that he now chooses to take revenge on this great institution with smears and publicity seeking. Frankly, I think Jonathan may need psychological help. The pressure has become too much for him…”

“But Professor you have not  denied his allegation that in a number of instances appointment’s panels were headed by staff having sex with the person later appointed. Can you assure other applicants that this did not occur.”

“Jean, I am not in the habit of policing the sex lives of staff. I can neither confirm nor deny what I do not know. We follow strict policy guidelines for the appointment of all Professorial staff.”

“Have you ever had sex  with an applicant whom you were at the same time interviewing?”

“As you well know Jean, I am a happily married man, doing a difficult job. Certainly I know of instances where what you describe has occurred. Not at Weeengland, but in other institutions where policies are not followed…an institution very close to our own for example…well I leave that to your investigative talents.”

“The Professor of Retail Integration, now Head of the Faculty of the Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, was appointed Professor despite having never published a book, an article in a peer-reviewed journal or even a chapter in an edited collection. Can you explain her rise up the ranks given that many of her colleagues view her as inane? And can you explain the appointment of Professor Gregory Halden as temporary Head of Registry? Professor Halden does not have a PhD, but is rumoured to enjoy the company of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs?”

“Jean you are unfarily tarring two extremely capable colleagues. Professorial appointments have nothing to do with personal relationships. They are vetted by esteemed academics from outside of the institution. They reflect the standing of the named individual in the wider academic community, and they reflect too their ability to secure, manage, and complete large research grants and projects. Careful analysis of the records of these staff shows that they meet these criteria.”

“You are referring to the multi million pound contract agreed between the Professor of Retail Integration and Tescos?”

“Indeed.”

“We will return to these cases in the year to come Professor. Can we now turn to the allegations of incompetence. It is alleged that your performances on Newsnight undermined the standing of Weeengland, and that many potential applicants went elsewhere in reaction to your bullying attitude, your close relationship with the local police Commissioner, and your insistence that protestors suffered from an infantile narcissism which should be beaten out of them. Did you act inappropriately?”

“Jean, listen, carefully! I respect the rights of everyone to protest. Everyone. However, there are laws, laws of the land, laws which protect private property, laws which ensure public hygiene, laws which outlaw disturbances of the peace. The law of the land must be upheld.”

“Can you give me examples of inappropriate protests?”

“Well Jean. Think of those Occupy protestors. They colonised the main lecture theatre in the Faculty of Sciences. Frankly, they stank. These long-haired, bearded young men, dressed like the hippies of 1971; those young women resembling unwashed vermin, and those older occupiers – unkempt men in their thirties – preaching Trotskyite rubbish, whilst addicted to illegal substances, corrupting those younger than themselves. We had no choice but to call the police in. They were a danger to the lives, and the health of those who respect the law. They were a danger to themselves. I mean the Professor of Retail Integration herself slipped on a used condom while rushing to a meeting about the pricing of seminar rooms for use by our selected private partners. The meeting was postponed. She was very shaken up, and not only because of the risk of HIV infection. I did the right thing Jean.’

“But Professor, you refused the occupiers access to washing and toilet facilities. You cut the electricity supply after 6pm. You told students that if they left the lecture theatre they would not be permitted to return. What did you expect?”

“Jean, unlike the protestors I am concerned about the environment we live in, and about future generations. We cannot supply electricity at night to a few students with infantile delusions of their own power. This would violate our Green Energy policy.”

“And if the occupiers return in the academic year to come?”

“We have invested in a high tech security system with private provider Armscor Response. Occupations will not occur. I can assure parents, or students, worried about security that violations of University policy will receive a robust response.”

” Thank you Professor.”

Jean Tully, education correspondent of the New Times, will publish the second part of her interview with Professor Woodley tomorrow. This year Jean will write weekly articles about the state of our local University of Weeengland, as it struggles to adjust to the policies of the Coalition Government. We interview staff at all levels, and publish exclusive extracts from Jean’s forthcoming book. She uncovers the sleaze, the corruption, the incompetence and the money to be made in this Brave new World.

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