So. Farewell then, Sussex lectures and seminars.

A bumbling hack holding a largely ceremonial position entailing little actual work; and Sanjeev Bhaskar.
A bumbling hack holding a largely ceremonial position entailing little actual work; and Sanjeev Bhaskar (left).

I have tearfully struggled through my last ever lecture/seminar at Sussex. And while that’s good news for my personal financial deficit, it’s also a bit of a pity.

I’m not quite done at Sussex yet though; dissertations are due in on 12 May and I’ll be beavering away until then, copying off Wikipedia (but writing it first, because plagiaism is naughty).

Meanwhile, it turns out I need to be careful about what I say. (Which you never find easy. -Ed.) Apparently the done thing in American universities – which means it can hardly be long before some opportunistic profit-motivated administrator with a hive mentality latches on to the idea here – is to trademark really common, ordinary words and phrases and then threaten legal action against anyone who uses them.

John Duffy’s cooler cousin Paul Greatrix, registrar at Nottingham, observes that terms such as fast track MBA, first-year experience and even student life are now off-limits in the States, having been commercialised by Eastern, Washington and South Carolina universities respectively.

Also taken out of the language, although somewhat more mercifully in my view, is East Carolina’s (That’s not a place. -Ed.) cringeworthy motto Tomorrow starts here and the University of Virginia’s Imagination beyond measure.

I fully expect that Sussex will presently be eyeing up trademarks on a whole raft of terms with the aim of preventing them from being used by others. Terms such as…

  • Peaceful protest
  • Full consultation
  • Fair pay
  • Financial irregularity
  • You’re a coward, Mike Weatherley
  • Friston

And the slogan…

Anyway, my sadness at moving into the endgame is tempered by the fact that, in the final week, Prof. Hough basically won Sussexballs. So…

sussexballs-finale“Stop pimping out my cat!”

“The politics of the Bernie Ecclestone affair was a car wreck.”

“I argued late into the night with him about Italy’s party funding structures, but then things moved on to football, so the argument was never finished.”

“It was clear from 2008 that Obama had the most attractive package.” (Ladies and gentlemen: we have a winner! -Ed.)



Readers may remember that the Sussex Five were disciplined by hearings which they believed broke the rules. The rules required that cases be heard by the student’s own Head of School, and hearings were in fact conducted by arbitrary Heads of School.

One of said arbitrary Heads of School, Professor Pete Clifton, said in his report: “After carefully reading Regulation 2 […] I believed that I was in an appropriate position to do so [chair the hearing]”.

So, to be clear, the University’s position was that these Schedule A hearings were properly constituted and completely within the rules.

Legislative amendment by tracked changes: classy
Legislative amendment by tracked changes: classy

One wonders, then, why the Duffmaster-General is proposing an amendment to the regulations, which would allow “another Head of School” to hear Schedule A cases. Seems slightly strange, given that it’s apparently absolutely legitimate as things stand!

Meanwhile, the Sussex 5 are appealing their cautions on the basis that their hearings were, erm, illegally constituted, as John Duffy has basically admitted by proposing his amendment. Technically, said appeals should be processed by a Pro-Vice-Chancellor, all four of whom are clearly biased in favour of “Vice-Chancellor” Michael Farthing, their line manager, and the outsourcing project generally, their baby.

Acknowledging that this would have the potential to make Sussex look [more] like a banana republic, University Council kindly passed an extraordinary resolution (thought to be the first email resolution in Sussex’s history) to waive that requirement just this once, and instead have the appeals handled by an independent, legally-qualified person.

Pity they didn’t think to change the rules and reform the system while they were at it though…

farthing's cliff edgeMeanwhile, the current tensions are taking their toll. A slew of panicked papers tabled for today’s University Senate meeting predict (more) significant drops in this year’s league tables and a massive dip in UCAS applications. The Student Recruitment and Admissions Report from Pro-VC Claire ‘Not My Fault Guv’ Mackie notes, “There is anecdotal evidence that some […] markets are sensitive to ‘political’ media attention.”

Or in English: Sussex has had a solid year of appalling publicity – admittedly some of it my fault – and is having trouble attracting serious students. Trebles all round!

Loony lefty corner

The Jewish community is getting into a twist about a rather splendid campaign called Sign on the Green Line, urging communal organisations to commit only to use maps of Israel which include the Green Line.

I think that educating our young with accurate maps sounds like a sensible idea but clearly some disagree. I think this calls for some serious questions to be asked, and who better to ask them than the cast of BBC2’s hit police procedural series…

Line Of Duty


North Korea’s barberism

Kim Jong-il’s son is clearly having a bad heir day because he’s issued a decree that darkness shall reign throughout the whole of the land unless everyone looks exactly like him. Yes, this is the news that Kim Jong-un has ordered all male university students in North Korea to copy his hairstyle.

A similar policy is said to be what cost William Hague the 2001 general election.

Of course, so much Photoshopping goes on in Pyongyang that when barbers show their clients the back of their head, this is likely to happen…

The last post

20130405_083044Gabrielquotes will be taking a break next week while its author is seconded to The Iton, the daily newspaper on LJY-Netzer’s Machaneh Aviv (Spring Camp).

But it will definitely be back in time for Passover the following week… there might even be the traditional Pesach News Bulletin. Who knows…

Five of the best

Saying goodbye to balls were…
In tonight’s episode, the English language was privatised by university administrators. Sussexballs was won by Dan Hough. Green Line of Duty is just a bit of a laugh and shouldn’t be taken too seriously, unlike Sign on the Green Line which is deadly serious and please do it. Claire Mackie isn’t responsible for Sussex’s league table plummet; it’s not like she’s a senior manager or anything. This was an Gabrielquotes production!

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