Dirty tricks

Image from Wikimedia Commons
It's the silly season. With thousands of places still not taken at universities in England, marketeers are scrabbling frantically to recruit as many students as they can. When everyone else is sunning themselves on the Costa, the poor admissions tutors (I know ... I was one) and their beleaguered marketing teams are chained to their telephones, straining a gut to grab every last school leaver they can possible lay their grubby little mitts on. Extraordinary lengths are being taken to gain an advantage over rivals.

Two universities in particular are laying into each other just like a couple of lads in a school playground. Dissing each other in a social media slanging match are the pre-92 University of Essex with 14,000 students (whose Chancellor just happens to be the somewhat vociferous Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow) and post-92 university Leeds Beckett University - a much larger, northern university with 24,000 students, but less history and prestige.

Essex it seems, took exception to the fact that Beckett was using Amazon's Alexa to get down with the kids this year. A series of social media snipes followed from both sides, much like a conversation between a teacher refereeing two little boys caught in a school yard brawl. It went a little like this:

Essex: 'Beckett started it Miss. He was using a whizzy new technology called Alexa to recruit his gang. So I stamped on it.'

Beckett: 'That was expensive kit Miss, and he trashed it, so I flicked him with a V.'

Essex: 'Well 'cos .... Beckett's just a show off, so he deserved it. Then he poured a can of coke down my neck.'

Beckett: 'Essex hit me Miss, he punched me right in the stomach when I wasn't looking. Then my big bro got involved.'

Essex: 'He hit me Miss, and anyway he started calling me names.'

Beckett: 'He's a liar Miss, and his pants are on fire.'

Essex: 'You leave my pants out of this!'

Miss (exasperated): 'Alright alright, I've heard just about enough of this. Why did it turn into a mass fight? There are several children waiting to see the school nurse.'

Beckett: 'Essex shouted "pile on everyone" and they all jumped on. He's a $@%&!'

Essex: 'It was all Beckett's fault. He started it, and he's the $@%& Miss!'

Miss (angry): 'That's it - detention for both of you! Go to the Headteachers office NOW!'

All's fair in love and war. Welcome to Higher Education in the UK, circa 2018.

Creative Commons License
Dirty tricks by Steve Wheeler was written in Plymouth, England and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


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