November 22, 2014
Bullying at the Democratic Republic of bULlySTER University - An Introduction
In this first of an occasional series on the most despotic university in these islands, we would like to introduce you to the university's current dictator, President (definitely-not-for-life) Pritchard Farnett and his “Cabinet of Horrors”... sorry, I mean senior management team... Like many a uni expansionist Pritch interpreted BU's old motto "to build anew" rather too literally and has reduced both his finances and a big district of Belslow, literally to rubble. Possessed with unhealthy ambitions of college lebensraum "Bully Farnett" came unstuck with his central Belslow campus vision. In fact unlike the Pyongyang based Mr. Kim, Pritch met the fate of many erstwhile uni super-thugs, known in the murky trade of college politics as "Gadaffi's end". Pritch is now on life-support having recently been shafted by his University Council, and will not remain dictator indefinitely. Like the late Libyan Colonel, BU's “lame-duck” President finally got a touch of his own unpleasant medicine as the uni Council forgiving the concurrence of any two (but not three) Presidential neuroses, ultimately deduced their strong man possessed a super-abundance of them all-myopia, incompetence and odiousness. Slightly more reticent than his immediate predecessor, the ousted Gerry "Black Bush" McKenna (a BU despot famed for outrageous drunkenness at University Senate) Farnett prefers “delegated genocide", never wishing to get professorial blood on his decidedly off-the-peg suits. But like Gerry, Pritchy also espoused too literally the word "Vice" in "University Vice-Chancellorship" until his campus "killing fields" finally caught up with him.
There comes a time in every dictatorship when cupboards are just too full of academic corruption, closets unhealthily brimful of skeletons, and college basements overrun with the putrefying corpses of sacked lecturers. And so it came to pass that after almost a decade of staff harassment, financial mismanagement, dismal planning and ungodly governance, Pritch finally got it in his own nuts. So indeed even now Pritchard is busily packing his suitcases with his ill-gotten gains of college dictatorship, including his proudly sported Rolex - sorry name drop - , a bribe for passing all those illiterate students his university loves to recruit from the Middle East. Some would say that he single-handedly brought BU to its knees, but that would mean air-brushing out the rest of the college mafia, the top uni managers who collectively sunk the “good ship bULlySTER”. So with displeasure, I solemnly introduce to you Pritch's evil cabinet.....as horrible in appearance as they are singularly heartless. This is a university "A Team" which makes Capone's gangsters look like an ensemble of choir-boys.
Let’s start with a vulgar creature who might seem more lion-tamer than human resources gopher in BU's grisly Zoo, one Ronald MacDonald, the university's Chief Torturer and Executioner. This is a ghoulish man allegedly responsible for scores of destroyed careers, several staff suicides, numerous forced redundancies and whose very presence is enough to panic the university's immiserated working population. Ronald who allegedly found "student love" is to inter-personal relationships what Hannibal Letcher is to dinner-time entertainment. This self-confessed socio-path particularly enjoys his job portfolio of "discipline" but rumours are his days are numbered. Having already been formally suspended, his sojourn as BU arch henchman may expire with his master's departure.
Also introducing Deborah Keenan, Minister of Mis - communication, a lady with a penchant for self-promotion, TV cameras and conjugating in uniform, and who at an early point in her career realized the best route to promotion was not a vertical trajectory but horizontal conviviality. "All frock and no filo-facts" Deborah had a brief career as a telly don until the questions finally proved too difficult under the glare of live TV. Intensely grilled by BBC bULlySTER journalists her sickly smile could no longer disguise her intellectual emptiness and she vanished amidst vapors of Austin's couture and cheap perfume.
Pugh Antenna is Chief of Research and Innovation, sometime country and western crooner and defrocked nurse with all the comforting manners of a pedophile priest. Always a bit crazy, Pugh’s start in mental health nursing was a good preparation for the mad-house of BU. It's oft said in health-care a good bed-side manner is critical but Pugh quickly became known in the uni as "`Nurse Death", harkening back to his days as Southern Board’s cruel matron espousing the doctrine of "cure or kill". He's put those instincts to use flogging the university’s research arm.
Our Finance Chief (appropriately named) Pete Despair, has labored for years imaginatively mis-juggling the finances of a “no hope" uni. While employed to cook the university books, Pete is a discreet specimen who is actually better known for having almost lost his wife to the uni's former HR director, Brendan “Halifax" Hamilton. Brendan started off his career threatening trainee bank clerks! The latter's liaison with (and unlucky gift of a watch to) Mr. Despair's wife (dishonestly purloined with a university credit card) persuaded BU to call time on Hamilton’s job. Our friend "Axe man" Ronald MacDonald was instrumental in his former boss's demise! That left the Despair couple intact and despite the bad times for university finance, the name-card on Pete's door remains the only "hope" left in the entire campus.
We would also like to mention Fred Astaire, perhaps a reluctant thug, who asks forgiveness to his God at night for every poor soul he persecutes. Professor of Property Investment and an expert on the Built Environment, Fred may just be a little too principled for the rest of the management team. Not keen on the university's expansion plan he may survive Farnett's departure but somehow lacks the unwavering ruthlesness needed for the BU "killing machine". It remains to be seen whether he will suffer the fate of another college "year zero" or may yet be the liberator after years of oppression.
Then we have Richie Killar in Planning & Partnerships whose former department accidentally admitted scores of failed students. A man with a mission, this muscular (or maybe just overweight) Christian is proud to be a leading light of British Computing and can rugby-tackle the scrum of bULlySTER university politics. Indeed his rise was achieved at the expense of BU strong-woman Anne Moran. A former school teacher, Anne was dubbed “Miss Moron" but her sharpened stilettos bludgeoned their way to university power despite her impressive ignorance. Finally Prof Killar slew this she-dragon in a manner that would have made St George proud.
It is hard to find anything interesting to say about Davina MacBribster, Teaching and Learning Supremo except that like many health academics if you linger too long around her she is decidedly "bad for your health". Leading “Quality Assurance and Enhancement”, Davina would hardly recognize quality if it hit her with a rock.
Finally, Estates Director Faddy Donut the "man without a plan”. Trusted to spin the uni's expansion and collect back-handers from property moguls, Faddy was almost sacked for being caught in coition with a former lady dean in a college store-room. Unlucky enough to be discovered by an evangelical security guard the latter's complaints about Faddy's impropriety could not be silenced. BU took the predicable decision to lance the boil. They promptly made the poor Christian security man forcibly redundant and let Faddy letch on.
That's all for now from the Democratic Republic of bULlySTER University. You've met the entire kitchen cabinet, the whole hellish rogue’s gallery. Next time we'll introduce you to the university deanship, known popularly as "Prich’s dunderheads" at least one of whom does not even possess an undergraduate degree. With such an august team of over-promoted dunces it is hardly surprising that some BU boffins think a "Dean's List" is something you'd find in a posh restaurant. So bon appétit from the cannibals of bULlySTER University!