NO to better buses!

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The Brighton & Hove Bus Company is holding a consultation about their plan to merge a bunch of routes with a bunch of other routes, one of which will be a continuous loop. Damned exciting stuff.

brighton and hove buses consultation mapAside from illustrating this complex proposal with what is possibly the world’s least clear map (pictured), managing director Roger French has distributed a leaflet asking customers a number of questions.

For example: Would you like to see a better service to Brighton station? Yes / No. Now seriously, who is going to answer this question ‘no’? OVER MY DEAD BODY! they might respond. I don’t pay for my quarterly  bus pass just so you can introduce better services!

Another question:

brighton and hove buses consultation questionWhat?? How would anyone possibly be able to rank these criteria?

  • “Yes, I don’t give a toss about where the services go, so long as they’re punctual and there’s a lot of ’em.
  • “So long as it goes somewhere convenient, I don’t care if I have to wait a fortnight for it.”
  • “As long as it’s supposed to be frequent, I’m fine with the service being horrendously unreliable.”
  • “I like my buses like I like my plumbers—inevitably late but headed to my house in Surbiton.”

Other suggested answers for me to send in on a postcard please; the deadline is Friday.

The Idea of a Lovely University

India’s largest institution of higher education is in the Punjab, and operates under the name of The Lovely Professional University, taking two adjectives that can scarcely be applied to Sussex. From the Lovely Faculty of Technology to the Lovely Faculty of Journalism, there’s something for everyone interested in a sweet-sounding degree qualification.

No doubt they also have a Gorgeous Canteen and Cutesy Accommodation.

lovely-professional-universityThe university’s disciplinary regulations are also rather lovely and provide a counterpoint to Sussex’s totalitarianism.

“Persistent idleness” is a punishable offence, as is “posession of rods or swords”. Other misdemeanours include “cruelty towards any person”, “use or dealing of alcohol” (!) and, best and broadest of the lot, “any conduct which involves moral turpitude”.

They also consider “any threat to commit suicide” as a punishable disciplinary matter rather than a cause for concern; and – most worryingly to fans of this blog – have banned “out bursting to/for any media regarding the matters pertaining to the university”.

How absolutely lovely.

With many thanks to Paul Greatrix of Registrarism for discovering this gem!

iceland bin theft

My house will be a house for all nations

A couple of weeks ago the Grauniad reported that the cost of student accommodation is rising and rising and many people can no longer afford it at all. But they’re behind with the news, as this actually happened on the Sussex campus decades earlier.

Slumming it: the unbuilt Vice-Chancellor's House on campus
Slumming it: the unbuilt Vice-Chancellor’s House on campus

Does anyone recognise this accommodation block at all?

No? Well, that’s because it was never actually built. Architect Sir Basil Spence had planned to construct this beautiful Vice-Chancellor’s House, with a floor plan including six bedrooms, an indoor garage, a south-facing terrace and, of course, an attached “housekeeper’s flat” for the attached housekeeper to reside in.

But sadly, just like so many generations of students since, our first Vice-Chancellor, Lord Fulton of Falmer (!), was unable to afford it: in his case, because the government refused to fund a building that wouldn’t advance students’ education.

Stupid ideas from Sussex University senior managers: nothing ever changes.

…Although the idea that the Vice-Chancellor would want to live anywhere that they might come into contact with students definitely belongs to a bygone age.

Good old British workmanship

Basil Spence would be turning in his grave if he could see what’s happened to the Jubilee Building. Sussex’s pride and joy (Gabrielquotes passim) and the only place I know of where the disabled parking spaces are built on a steep slope, the Jubilee Building was opened to the public literally one year ago, in September 2012.

One of the six or seven leaks: this much water accumulated in what was literally 2 hours
One of the six or seven leaks: this much water accumulated in what was literally 2 hours

And currently, the ground floor is almost entirely roped off due to a huge series of leaks. This isn’t rainwater, because it’s a four-storey building. It’s pipework in the ceiling that is gushing water onto the polished stone floor below, from multiple places, freely but no doubt safely dripping over electric lights, smoke detectors and fire alarms.

Which made Thursday’s Holocaust Memorial Day lecture an interesting challenge, what with our 300-odd guests, many of whom were elderly and mobility-impaired.

Stop press: over the weekend, the ceiling collapsed altogether. So that was money well-spent then.

Those who relied on wheelchairs were safer than most on the slippery floor, but unfortunately the lift to the lecture theatre – Sussex’s largest, newest and most expensive auditorium – was out of order. Again, this is a lift that has been in operation for less than 18 months, and it’s the only way that wheelchair users can attend lectures in the building.

It remained out of order until we convinced Estates that a lot of influential people would be attending, and they fixed it with moments to spare. One wonders if they’d have been so quick to accommodate the disabled if they’d just been mere students…

Meanwhile the value of Sussex’s outsourced services was quickly highlighted. The new traffic management team helpfully reserved us 20 car-park spaces for our guests, watched over by a security officer who sat in a parked car with the engine running and headlights on, at midday, for more than an hour, no doubt in the interests of saving money and the environment and stuff. (Of course a pedantic person might point out that we’d asked them to reserve us more than 100 spaces, but hopefully once they’ve had the contract for a few years their maths skills will improve.)

In the food department, meanwhile, last year – pre-privatisation – the in-house caterers charged Holocaust Memorial Day event organisers an outrageous £1 per biscuit for the coffee break. This year, with our new, cheaper, leaner, more economical arrangement, outsourced caterers Chartwells suggested a more modest price of £1 per biscuit. Absolute bloody bargain. (We went to the Co-op, where whole packets of custard creams were being sold for 49p each.)

A message to any members of the University of Sussex management who may be reading: stop reading this and do some bloody work. This term I’m going to be filling out the National Student Survey. And if you think I’m even remotely satisfied with your shambolic excuse for a university, you have another think coming.

Sussexballs: £9000 per annum paid for contributions“A social theory of rights is what we call a social theory of rights.”

[Email auto-reply received last week from Sussex’s senior Academic Secretary:] “Thank you for your message. I am out of the office on Monday 9 December.”

“This ‘Political Corruption’ dissertation is a real chance for you to get your hands dirty a little bit.”

“We take issues of corruption quite seriously here at Sussex.” [Maybe not seriously enough?]

“People’s ideas of corruption vary a lot across the world. Would an executive in Japan and an executive in the  Netherlands be speaking the same language?”

Five of the best

Today’s out bursting
In tonight’s episode, the impartial public opinion survey was carried out by Roger French of the Brighton & Hove Bus Company. David Daiches wrote about The Idea of a Lovely University. The Big Bad Wolf was played by Scarlett Johansson, with additional material provided by Sodastream. The Vice-Chancellor’s House wasn’t built by Sir Basil Spence. This was an Gabrielquotes production!


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