Final Exclusive Interview with VC of University of Weeengland

Jean Tully, Education Correspondent for the New Times, in her final exclusive interview with Professor Woodley, VC of the failing University of Weeengland.

“Professor, welcome back. In last week’s interviews we talked about sex, about corruption, and about under recruitment. In your view these problems will be resolved  once all services are outsourced to Capital Academicians. You also intend to cut teaching costs by 25% in one academic year…”

“It is for the best Jean. We are a business. A business. In a crisis businesses restructure. Restructure and cut. The coalition government are doing it for GB plc. I will, we, we will do it for Weeengland plc.. I am a man of vision Jean, but even men of vision must pay heed in this age of austerity. The University of Weeengland is open for business.”

“This is not your first experience of contracts with private providers, you previously…”

“Jean, I always act in the best interests of the University, the local community, my students, staff and other valued partners. The University of Weeengland code of conduct regulates our business, and our ethics committee which…well it is like an ethical cheque book, signing off the value of our contracts.”

“With partners such as  Armscorp? Your engineers designed the coiled springs used in their NAAP51 machine gun,a weapon sold to a number of Middle Eastern Regimes, and used in the suppression of…”

“Jean, Armscorp is the best of the best, a company with its hand quite literally on the trigger. I personally negotiated a multi-million pound contract with Armscorp. Today our knowledge has impact beyond your wildest dreams. This is impact which the REF must take notice of Jean. This machine gun,  you have to hold it in your arms to understand the beauty of a coil spring….feel the pump into your shoulder, the recoil, see the impact…remarkable”

“You tested the machine gun, Professor? Perhaps on one of your sponsored trips to Tunisia during the last academic year?”

“Tested…no, no of course not Jean. Metaphor. This coil is a metaphor for good business. Armscorp are the bees knees, best in the business, squeaky clean, oiled up, hard as nails mind you in negotiation, but clean as whistles…”

“Professor, do you always speak in clichés when you are lying?”

“Lying? Of course not Jean, never…”

“There is an Armscorp record of your testing the new machine gun during a hunting expedition in the Croumerie mountains, last August. The Professor of Retail Integration was on the trip.  What was it like shooting wild boar with the NAAP51, Professor?”

“Out of this world Jean! A once in a life time experience every man should have… We secured further contracts for the University during that particular trip. And the  Professor of Retail Integration will soon be Head of CRAP ( our new Faculty of Creative and Applied Practices) with direct responsibility for the School of  Engineering.  You know me, planning way in advance, anticipating the coming Faculty mergers. And she negotiated that huge contract with TESCOs, unique in the history of British Universities. Her research will improve TESCOs performance beyond all measure. Incredible really what she has achieved, an incredible woman. Mark my words, she is going places.”

“Did you share a bed, Professor? A sauna perhaps?”

“Jean. I’ve granted you an exclusive interview! Please, is there a need to be so impertinent?”

“But you did shoot your machine gun, if not your…”

“A few undeclared bullets Jean, that is all. Would you prefer me to kill the contract, kill jobs, shoot a load of British workers, rather than kill a few wild boar? Delicious by the way, delicious, roast boar that is! And let me tell you young lady, that is not the first, and it will not be the last of our arms contracts. The arms industry is a pillar of British society, a big employer, an investor in excellence, an industry with fantastic growth potential. Read Herodotus – I keep a copy next to the toilet, excellent reading, superb education…war is here to stay. I mean what else does peace mean, but that war has been temporarily suspended. Peace is war by other means, and it is our duty to design, supply, and test Jean, yes test these weapons. Armscorp taught me everything I know about sub-contracting, outsourcing, ethics, and war. Jean, in the new HE environment we are at war, constant war, seeking to outbid competitors, cut costs, increase student numbers, squeezing margins, demonstrating impact, and selling our knowledge where it will have most impact, on the market.”

“Even if those weapons are used to kill?”

“Jean, this line of questioning is  boring me now. Come on! Do you use condoms? Of course you do…yes…but are you responsible for the workers paid fifty pence per hour to produce them in the sweat shops of Rio? Are you prepared to give up sex because the condom you use is ethically inconsistent? Arms and condoms Jean, two sides of the same coin. The point it to have the coin. The coin is the thing wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the King, nothing else.”

“Professor, shouldn’t Universities cast a cold eye on our society, show up its infelicities, be a thorn in the side of reality? ”

“You really are quaint Jean! A noble battered corpse of an ideal! Our duty as researchers, as educators, is to service reality, to oil its wheels. Why on earth would I encourage anyone to halt the train of progress. That was the ideal of the lazy, the socialists, the ones who would squander growth and wealth on abstract ethical principles. Reality shock. That is what Universities need. We have protected these sloth like idealists in their ivory towers for too long. If they don’t catch up they are out Jean, on the street.”

“Professor, before we finish let me ask you about Capital Academicians, or Capital A as you term them.”

“Yes Jean, I was a little upset by your last interview. I  had Bill (the CEO) on the phone yesterday, shouting in his appalling Yankee accent about you. A crass, but wealthy man. Why focus on the law suits Jean? Capital A  services many great US Universities. We must repress our natural English instinct to criticise.  The Americans are a great nation, their companies are at the leading edge of service provision, IP, restructuring for a global environment. Capital A is a partner to be proud of…”

“Yet your first contract with Capital A saw them mowing University lawns between 11 and 3 for six months of the academic year? Students and staff complained, to no avail. You claimed  it was not your responsibility to determine the best time for grass cutting.”

“Grass cutting is way below my pay level Jean.”

“But surely a University is one organisation, made up of different parts, all of which work toward the same goal. Grass cutting may be below your pay level but students don’t want to hear the roar of lawnmowers outside their seminar rooms? You signed off that contract.”

“Jean, you finally understand my point. A University is made up of many, many parts. Too many for one small brain. It is a vast, complex organism. My job is simple: to make every part profitable: food, welfare, room bookings, research, cleaning…yes even cleaning…they must become self sufficient units, demonstrating their value. If not, well there can be only one outcome…We cannot allow the weak to prosper especially if they undermine the well being of greater good.”

“What then is the aim, the mission, of the modern University, Professor?”

“To preserve a profitable business, to sell education and research, to produce stock for the future. After all, we will have stockholders to consider in years to come.”

“Professor, thank you.”

” As always Jean the pleasure is mine. Are you free for a drink, I have a little time you know..?”

On Wednesday read Jean Tully’s expose of the sexual politics of the Senior Management Team at the University of Weeengland.

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