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Going Dutch

The following is an urgent message from the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education, Research, Sport, Commercial Outreach, Opportunism and On-Campus Betting Mr Grantham Capricorn to all staff. A separate, identical message will be sent to all students. This message will also be published on the University of Afpuddle website once it is "up and running" again.

Dear colleagues,

Dorset County Council yesterday declared that it expects further “unprecedented, unannounced, pointlessly damaging and hugely morale undermining” measures will "somehow come magically into effect" at some as yet undetermined point during "the coming days". I am writing to let you know that, in light of these latest rumours, and of recent developments including a growing number of staff members no longer locatable now that electronic tagging has failed [the IT Department is working on it but by the time the problem is fixed they may well be out of range], the University has today moved into its “red” phase in response to the Coronabyn [CONTRIK-69] pandemic.


We are asking students – both undergraduate and postgraduate – to return home now if not before and to take all belongings - especially unwashed laundry and used personal toys - but not University fixtures and fittings with them. It is especially important that students who normally reside outside Dorset make travel arrangements as quickly as possible, as many counties are already imposing travel restrictions as a result of post-Drexit mean-mindedness. [Has it occurred to any of these people that CONTRIK-69 is God's way of telling them they should have let us leave earlier?] Departing students should ensure, however, that - as a matter of priority - they have settled all bills and have no outstanding fee obligations before leaving. Students unable to leave Afpuddle should congregate in the No-Longer-Safe Space formerly reserved for closed only-like-minded discussion groups. It has been given an anti-bacterial once-over. They should await further instructions and/or hygienic/human disposal. A lorry and two dumper-trucks have been contracted but may not be available until early next week.

There will be no face-to-face teaching in the Easter term: so-called lectures, seminars and discussion groups are cancelled henceforth and there will be no examinations in Afpuddle. All academic activity [such as there once was] will be suspended indefinitely with a view to full abolition in due course. This represents a 200 times increase in the speed of planned cuts and reforms. Final degree allocation arrangements are outlined below.

The University will communicate with all students by the end of March about alternative ways of paying next Term's fees [from which there will be no remission] since hand-written cheques will no longer be processed. Be assured that the University has prioritised securing income its streams above all else and your payments will be taken in safely and in due course. In the meantime, please DO NOT spend any designated Fee Monies on sweets.

We urge students to address any questions they have about pastoral care, welfare, finance and counselling to their parents whose job it is, after all, to look after them. [We are a University not - as is often assumed to be the case - a secure mental health unit.]


We are asking all University staff, excepting those needed for business-critical activity, to begin working from home by 5:00 pm on Friday 20 March. Since many of you only sit in your offices and chat - try to find someone else prepared to listen to you droning on and on about the impact of Coronabyn/Drexit/Scottish Independence and allied dreary topics.


All University libraries, which were in the process of being mothballed anyway, will be closed to all users with immediate effect. In the unlikely event that a student wishes to take any books with them, they should feel free to do so. If every student took 10 books the University would save an estimate £400,000 on skips.

From 5:00 pm on Friday 20 March, all other University buildings will be closed to students - probably forever or at least until we can think what else to do with them.

However, some buildings will have to remain open to some members of staff for basic maintenance, IT functionality, security or other business-critical activities. Those buildings may include:

[a] Finance Offices where billing, student asset-seizure, donations receipt and other payment-critical operations will proceed as usual.

[b] Commercialization Units where marketing of University products and franchise partnership development are income-critical.

ABOVE: Willemstadt, the capital of the Dutch Antilles. BELOW: The Curacao Suites Hotel ******, Willemstad, where the University of Afpuddle's Crisis Administrative Headquarters has been established and from which the Pro-Vice-Chancellor's message was issued. Professor Capricorn described it as "as safe a place as you could hope for in the current crisis", adding "The University's money will be very secure and very lightly taxed here".

May I take this opportunity to say that we are all facing an unprecedented crisis. It may be months before we resume normal activity. As you know arrangements for on-line graduation are already in place which means that all of our students will graduate on a date of their choice with a First-class degree in a subject of their choice. This should ensure that, as graduates, they will continue to be eligible for, as well as liable to, harassment by the Development and Alumni Fleecing Office from the moment of graduation. I have asked that the D&AFO should prioritize ensuring that we have up-to-date addresses for all departing students to ensure that lines of communication and capital transfer remain robust and "fit for purpose" as we move forward collectively to a more affluent, caring and ultimately student-free University.

For reasons of strategic security, The Vice-Chancellor and Pro-Vice-Chancellor's Offices [and all associated banking activity] will be relocating temporarily to The Curacao Suites Hotel ******, Willemstad, The Dutch Antilles. Despite the distance between us, we wish to assure all members of the University that we continue to know where you live and how to get in touch with you.

Throughout the ensuing few weeks, the University will endeavour to keep everyone informed and up-to-date on where any monies owed, donations pledged or maturing legacies expected should be directed. We will need all the fortitude, resilience and generosity of our University community to get us through these testing times. I am confident that this crisis will bring out the wallets [surely "the best" [Ed]] of all of us.

Prof Grantham Capricorn

Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education, Research, Sport, Commercial Outreach, Opportunism and On-Campus Betting

Professor Capricorn's communiqué was accompanied by a photograph some considered "rather jauntier and less sensitive than we might have expected".

PS In conjunction with Dorset Casino we are currently offering 200/1 on the University re-opening any time soon and 1/1000 on us not hitting our annual financial targets!

So happy betting and remember - when the fun stops, cheer yourself up with a sizeable gift to your alma mater. It's not cheap out here!

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