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March 3, 2014 | by  | in Opinion |
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The Intrepid VC Guilford

Firstly, I should mention the following columns will be a reconstruction of events confided in me by Jakob Petersen, a diffident and weasley Dane, who swears the following is 100 per cent true and without a fib. Let’s begin.

Last week, the group of uneasy-looking individuals that make up University management were waiting in an office somewhere in the Hunter building. Petersen entered this room and croaked, “He’s here,” followed closely by the he in question, a man wearing Aviators and a brown leather jacket, who stopped and surveyed the room slowly. Movers wandered into the room carrying a wingback chair upholstered in crocodile skin, which they placed behind a formidable partners’ desk at the opposite end of the room.

The man watched the movers leave carefully. Then he said, “Good morning Staff!” He spoke like a farmer from somewhere south-east of Hamilton, a bit like Muldoon, except much kinder and with a greater love for life.

“I’m your new Vice-Chancellor Grant Guilford, and I’m here to talk edju-cay-shun. None of this trimming-around-the-bikini-line Pat Walsh bullshit, but a full-on Brazilian waxing of varsity management.”

The staff started acting a little shifty.

“Now, the only problem is, we have to give this edju-cay-shun to someone, and that means students.”

Someone coughed. Students! The last thing anyone wanted to hear about! Faculty budgets, great, performance-based research funds, even better, but students?

Petersen spoke up, “The thing is, Sir, that – well – I suppose we’ve been ignoring students for the better part of five years.”

Guilford stamped his foot. I forgot to mention that he was wearing motorcycle boots despite reportedly having driven to University in a 2002 Nissan Lancer.

“God damn it Petersen, you think I don’t know that? Look where it’s got ya. They hate you. They think you’re the runny bit in the middle of a cow shit that’s gone hard in the sun.” Guilford looked from staff member to staff member. “But I have a plan.”

More silence. He continued.

“Look – the trouble with students is they’re not very commune-a-ca-tive. To find out what they want, so that we can give it to them, to help them ‘Know Their Minds’, so to speak, we have to infiltrate the student body.”

“By establishing an overtly bureaucratic committee without the sanction of students and claiming it as their primary representative group?“ asked Robert from accounts.

“What? You’d have to be a lunatic to try pull that one. No, what we gotta do is find ourselves a mole. Someone on the ground.”

“Aren’t all moles on the ground?” said Casey, a sarcastic and spiteful woman from admissions.

“Well yes, a mole needs to be on the ground or they wouldn’t give you any information I guess.”

Casey persisted, “Where would a mole be if it wasn’t on the ground?”

“In a zoo perhaps?” chimed in Petersen.

Guilford: “We can’t go round putting students in zoos, Petersen: people would notice.”

“I think Casey was referring to the mole the animal, not a spy on the inside.”

“Is that right, Casey?” said Guilford.

“Don’t mind her,” said Robert. “She’s just a sarcastic and spiteful woman from admissions.”

There is a lot of tension between Robert and Casey, the history of which might be useful to know later. Robert thought Casey was sarcastic and spiteful from the moment he first met her. Casey, only being interested in herself and upon recognising that he was a separate entity, took an immediate dislike to Robert. Then a strange thing on Tinder (you may be asking why two 30-somethings may be using Tinder, but that would be the emotional maturity of management for you). One night, Casey accidentally ‘liked’ Robert, while, almost simultaneously, Robert accidentally liked Casey. They both, being rather lonely people, and this being the first match for either of them and thinking that the other’s interest was genuine, figured they should at least ‘follow through’. They dated for nearly a year before either of them discovered the relationship was based entirely on false pretences.

Guilford strolled through the crowd and sat in the wingback chair.

“But Sir, where are we going to find a student who will cooperate?” asked Petersen.

Guilford put his feet on the desk. “Oh, I know a place where we can find plenty of sue-ta-bul candidates.”

The thing about Guilford is that despite being a bristly, scratchy sort of person, he really does only want to help. But still, it’s my personal view that attending the Toga Party, to find a mole with little-to-no coverage of his right nipple, and with Petersen following in suit, with little-to-no coverage of his left nipple, was misguided. However, that part of this saga will have to wait another week.

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