It’s true – Pop­ple­ton to close!

THE (Times Higher Education) - - THE POPPLETONIAN -

“First of all the bad news.”

That was how Jamie Tar­gett, our Di­rec­tor of Cor­po­rate Af­fairs, be­gan his ad­dress to the aca­demic and ad­min­is­tra­tive staff who at­tended yes­ter­day’s mass meet­ing in Cen­tral Hall.

As an un­easy si­lence fell upon the as­sem­bled crowd, Tar­gett out­lined Pop­ple­ton’s predica­ment.

“Our pro­gres­sive ad­mis­sions pol­icy of mak­ing un­con­di­tional of­fers to any­one who in­ti­mated the slight­est in­ter­est in Pop­ple­ton has not had the de­sired ef­fect. In­deed, our cur­rent short­fall means that most heads of de­part­ment would be ad­dress­ing their wel­come speech this au­tumn to an av­er­age au­di­ence of just three stu­dents.

“As you’ll ap­pre­ci­ate, the loss of in­come from this stu­dent short­fall com­pounds our in­abil­ity to pay the in­ter­est charges on the mas­sive loan that was raised to pay for the now to­tally un­oc­cu­pied suite of new build-build­ings known as the David Wil­letts cam­pus.

“There have been other less ma­te­rial in­di­ca­tions that Pop­ple­ton’s days are num­bered. Some might men­tion last week’s sight­ing of a flock of vul­tures cir­cling the Ad­min­is­tra­tion Block, or the re­cent plague of frogs prompted by the dryin­gout of the Bi­ol­ogy Pond, or in­deed the de­press­ing sight this Tues­day af­ter­noon of long lines of rats aban­don­ing the Psy­chol­ogy Lab­o­ra­tory. All th­ese signs, ma­te­rial and sym­bolic, point to only one out­come: the clo­sure of this univer­sity.”

As an­guished shouts of “Shame” and “Traitor” and “Sell-out” rang around the hall, Tar­gett of­fered th­ese words of com­fort.

“Al­though this news means that we will have to say ‘good­bye and good luck’ to a size­able pro­por­tion of our aca­demic and ad­min­is­tra­tive staff, I’m de­lighted to say that a plan is in place to turn this once-proud univer­sity into an ex­cit­ing new venue. Let me leave the de­tails to our next speaker, our Cor­po­rate Di­rec­tor of Hu­man Re­sources, Louise Bimp­son.”

But be­fore Ms Bimp­son was able to be­gin her ad­dress, stew­ards had to move in to stop a small group of dis­grun­tled aca­demics from at­tack­ing the plat­form party with a va­ri­ety of im­pro­vised im­ple­ments in­clud­ing a black­board pointer and the univer­sity mace. When or­der was re­stored, Ms Bimp­son rose to speak.

“This is in­deed a sad day. But there is a sil­ver lin­ing. Pop­ple­ton Univer­sity is about to rise again as an ex­cit­ing new tourist ex­pe­ri­ence.

“Let me ex­plain. Many of you will have vis­ited the National Coal Min­ing Mu­seum in Wake­fiWake­field.eld. You will re­mem­ber the ex­cite­ment of get­ting kit­ted out with a hard hat and a bat­tery lamp, step­ping into a cage and de­scend­ing

140 me­tres un­der­ground in or­der to dis­cover the tra­di­tional re­al­i­ties of coal min­ing.

“But now, the Pop­ple­ton Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Ex­pe­ri­ence, as it will be known, gives vis­i­tors a once-in-a-life­time chance to dis­cover the re­al­i­ties of life in a tra­di­tional univer­sity. Vis­i­tors will be kit­ted out in tra­di­tional gowns and mor­tar boards with tas­sels and in­vited to ob­serve a va­ri­ety of old-time univer­sity sights: a six-per­son sem­i­nar group, an ex­tended se­nior com­mon room dis­cus­sion, an aca­demic en­joy­ing a sab­bat­i­cal term, a form-free desk. They will learn what a univer­sity was like be­fore the teach­ing ex­cel­lence frame­work and the re­search ex­cel­lence frame­work, and be­fore Sam Gy­imah, the cur­rent uni­ver­si­ties min­is­ter, de­cided that it most re­sem­bled a su­per­mar­ket. And there will be so much more. So many more at­trac­tions. But you will need to wait just one more week to hear that news.”

What is the new face of Pop­ple­ton Univer­sity? What ex­actly is The Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Ex­pe­ri­ence? Next week we re­veal the ex­cit­ing de­tails.

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