Tag Archives: Issue 176

subtext 176 – ‘for the avoidance of subtext’

Fortnightly during term time.

Letters, contributions, & comments: subtext-editors@lancaster.ac.uk

Back issues & subscription details: http://wp.lancs.ac.uk/subtext/about/

In this issue: editorial, fash, more fash, gender pay gap, UA92 (in four parts), bad governance, more governance, assistant deans, appeal for more assistant deans, bomb shelter update, grad ball, alternative grad ball, lu text lost and found, email, lusu agm, look at what you could have won, letters.



We’ve had a relaxing vacation spent spring-cleaning the subtext warehouse and enjoying the beer garden experience far more times than is good for us. So much so, that the subtext collective is a little disappointed with what it’s had to return to.

Sure, it’s summer term, and that means flowers, fun events and fluffy ducks chirping away on the University’s bucolic parkland campus. But this year, we also have to contend with high-decibel jackhammering, widespread dust and destruction, discord over where students should hold their balls, continued chipping away at our democratic governance structures, and – oh yes – more fascism on campus. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, you all have to put up with subtext going on about it all every two weeks!

All that aside, welcome to summer term 2018 – we wish you a very happy one!


In subtext 173, we reported on the activities of an unofficial far-right student society, which made its presence felt at a public lecture on the politics of fear by raising concerns about the ethnic makeup of Europe, advocating a white Christian Europe, alleging that Israel forcefully castrates immigrants and that migrants are all rapists. The conversation spilled out into the lobby, where a heated exchange between the group and the other attendees ensued. Since the Students’ Union (LUSU) had been dragging its heels in the process of granting them society status all year, we figured that they would never get anything even close to official recognition by LUSU, especially after our report on their behaviour. After that report, there was a small amount of uproar on their Facebook page, a very boring letter accusing us of libel which we published in subtext 174, a bit of hectoring from the on-campus far-left, and a SCAN article. And that, we thought, was that…

… Until the other day, when we found out that the Students’ Union has gone the extra mile to get them their recognition! All applications for official recognition by LUSU are scrutinised by a ‘Societies Committee’, which voted to postpone the decision to recognise the group until a later meeting. subtext has learned that last week the LUSU full-time officers took an executive decision to ignore the societies committee and ‘approve’ the society in question for official recognition.

To be fair to the LUSU executive, they have identified the ‘high risk’ involved in approving the group, and have been working with the university to develop a strategy to mitigate against those risks.

Firstly, members of the group are going to be given a jolly good talking to about LUSU’s code of conduct, and you’d better know that they won’t be getting an inch unless they swear up, down and sideways that they’ll follow it – indeed, there has even been talk of crossing hearts and hoping to die.

If that doesn’t have them quaking in their boots, there’s also going to be one hell of a risk assessment carried out. It doesn’t end there. The group, which has defended individuals guilty of inciting hate crime, are going to have hate crime explained to them by a local policeman. This will, apparently, help them to recognise signs of people hijacking the group for nefarious political purposes. Because we can’t have extremists in a fascist group, can we?

At the time of writing, the society’s application has been deferred yet again, pending further investigation, following what we understand was an intervention by a senior member of LUSU staff. While another deferral is better than an outright approval, subtext is amazed that the elected LUSU officers were willing to approve the society.

subtext decided to take another look at the group’s Facebook page.

Aside from the usual witless, unsophisticated kvetching about gender studies and white people being oppressed, this society, which LUSU full time officers were happy and willing to grant money, resources, and official recognition to, is relaxed about historical inaccuracies on TV unless a black person shows up. They celebrated the election of Viktor Orbán, the Hungarian autocrat who has worked to quash press freedom and curb civil liberties but is alright because he annoys George Soros (the Emmanuel Goldstein of the alt-right). A member of their group writes Facebook posts under the pseudonym ‘Enoch’. They find it ‘sickening’ that Lauren Southern was banned from the UK. Ms Southern, in case you were wondering, once wrote: ‘another problem I have with Hitler? He fawned over Muslims more sycophantically than Justin Trudeau. Bibi Netanyahu was right to point out that Hitler decided on the Holocaust partly because Middle Eastern Muslims told him they didn’t want Jews expelled into the region.’

Aside from that they’re a box of fluffy ducks, apparently.



Should we care if some of our students express views the majority find distasteful? Freedom of speech is a truism in universities and if a few people want to form a society to lament the demise of ‘traditional Christian Europe’, is it our place to stop them? Are they hurting anyone else?

Maybe, yes.

subtext has received reports of several seminars being disrupted, on a regular basis, by small groups of students, who have sought to overwhelm conversations with repeated and extended interventions, often wholly unrelated to the text under discussion.

Seminars have been forced to address such pressing topics as:

– Do Jewish or Asian people control much of Britain’s wealth?

– Will the US Army be weaker than the Chinese army if it welcomes transgender people to serve as soldiers?

– Should women be teaching men?

These interventions, delivered in a rapid succession of questionable debating points (Gish Galloping – Google it), have at times been accompanied by explicit hate speech against disabled and trans people. Lecturers and seminar tutors believe that these contributions are racist, antisemitic and sexist. Female staff seem to be targeted in particular.

The reaction of other students in the seminars seems to be bemusement and taking offence.

Reportedly both first and third year seminars have been affected in this way, so if any readers thought this phenomenon would just naturally expire when the key players graduated, they may have a while to wait.


Lancaster, the University of the Year 2018, has come near the top of yet another league table: the gender pay gap rankings, that is. According to its own recently published figures (http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/media/lancaster-university/content-assets/documents/edi/GenderPayGapReport.pdf), Lancaster’s gender pay gap of mean 27.7%, median 26.5%, against a sector average of mean 17.8% and median 13.7% puts us in third place nationally. Unfortunately we needn’t specify that the gap is between women earning less and men earning more. Judging by the reactions on social media and by questions to senior managers at numerous meetings, the University community has taken notice.

Where bad news falls, excuses are usually not far behind, and this expansive salary void is no exception: our glorious leaders attribute the gap to various factors, including Lancaster’s proud record of keeping cleaning staff (predominantly female workers) largely in-house, unlike many other HE institutions, and that fact that we have high numbers of lower-paid professional services staff who are mainly female while at the more senior (and higher-paid) professional services grades, the reverse is true. What is noted but not explained, however, is why academic, research and teaching staff are fairly evenly split up to grade 8, after which the proportion of women rapidly drops so that only 25% of professors are female. The official excuse for this is ‘low turnover’, but this seems rather weak. There is no official quota of professors, nor any sort of ‘one out, one in’ system.

The information about bonuses is also rather odd. Publishing this information is a requirement for all employers, and in sectors like banking, bonuses can make a huge difference to overall remuneration. But in Lancaster’s report this category includes only ex-gratia payments and staff awards, each limited to £1,000. Other forms of performance-related pay, are not mentioned, perhaps because they do not meet the definition of bonuses set out by the government. The VC used to get annual performance-related boosts to his emoluments, if he met his targets (which was not always the case – see subtext 156), but these are no longer listed in the University’s accounts. As far as ‘bonuses’ go, then, there seems to be some good news at least: women seem to have done rather well in this regard, with 6.1% receiving bonuses versus only 2.7% of males, and a bonus gap of 21.5% mean and 48.1% median. Trebles all round, Lancaster isn’t quite the den of unreconstructed Sid James-lookalikes it seemed to be…

Or is it? As any insightful analysis is resolutely lacking from the report, it is hard to say what these figures actually mean. For instance, are ex-gratia payments mostly paid to professional services staff in the lower half of the scale (a group that consists overwhelmingly of women)? Are they offered as a sort of consolation prize to people who have reached the top increment for their role, but have not been promoted to a higher-paid role? And are women more likely to be offered one-off ex-gratia payments versus accelerated increments, which would have a much greater effect on their pay longer-term?

Some of the action points listed at the end of the report are indeed laudable and necessary, but overall this feels like a bit of a rush job, ranking only somewhat above the meaningless word clouds and misleading stats of the last staff survey. The University has a legal requirement to publish these figures, but it could have done so much more, especially as everyone knew these figures would have to be published eventually. There is no breakdown by department or even faculty, and wholly insufficient information about linked factors like age, ethnicity, disability, and especially parental status. Once again, subtext readers may wonder why Lancaster doesn’t make more use of its world-leading experts, in this case to investigate, explain and work to mitigate the issues around the gender pay gap.



When asked if Gary Neville had ‘shopped around’ other universities before settling on Lancaster as his business partner, the Vice-Chancellor didn’t ‘believe’ this to be the case. It turns out that this actually was the case, and that Gary had had extensive talks with Salford University about a partnership. Indeed, it was a surprise to many observers that Salford University was not the partner of choice. As it turns out, Salford had enjoyed a fruitful relationship with the Class of 92 stretching over several years, culminating in a formal partnership agreement in 2014. Gary stated at the time that the partnership was ‘a central part of our vision and we’re really lucky to be able to make the most of the enthusiasm and skills of some fantastic students and the incredible facilities at the University.’ Professor Amanda Broderick, the Pro Vice-Chancellor and Salford Business School Dean who had brokered the partnership, said that the ‘internship, placement and research opportunities for our students through our exclusive partnership with the Class of 92 are incredible.’

The deal was sealed with the award of an Honorary Doctorate to Gary ‘for his work promoting the importance of sustainability in the sports and property development industries’. Yes, the same Gary Neville whose property development company plans to disfigure the Manchester skyline with the tallest high-rise ever built in the city, and whose Salford City FC development is set on colonising the Turn Moss open green space (see subtext 175), was given an academic award for environmental sustainability.

Over the next 18 months the partnership blossomed. Salford students got to work and develop their skills with a group of high-profile football celebrities, while the Class of 92 got… quite a lot. Nearly 70 pieces of art, ‘hand-picked by Manchester United legend Gary Neville’, were produced by students to adorn the bedrooms and public areas of the newly-opened Hotel Football. Design students helped develop the Class of 92 brand, Fashion students designed their high-end sportswear, and Film students were responsible for filming key scenes for the BBC documentary about Salford City FC, ‘Class of 92: Out of Their League’. It is not known if the students were paid for their efforts. The partnership’s future looked so rosy that Salford began recruiting extra staff to support it, creating two new professorships in Sports Business and Sports Enterprise. Prior to this, Salford University was notorious for wholesale staff-cutting in order to reduce costs. The most recent instance had been just months earlier, when modern language degrees were axed and teaching staff made redundant.

This happy period culminated in a proposal by Gary to create ‘Academy 92’. This envisaged a major local regeneration project based on building a new stadium for Salford City FC and would involve Salford City Council, Salford NHS Trust and Salford University as major stakeholders. Based in teaching facilities at the new stadium, university staff would deliver sports science, sports rehabilitation and physiotherapy education as components of existing Salford degree programmes. The partnership looked all set to go on to even greater things.

And then it all went pear-shaped.

In December 2015, Gary was appointed manager of Valencia FC, owned by his friend and financial backer Peter Lim, and where brother Phil already had a coaching role. Then Professor Amanda Broderick left Salford to take up a new post as CEO of Newcastle University’s London campus. With these two driving forces off the scene, the project lost momentum. One might have thought that another member of the Class of 92 would have taken up the baton. Alas, it appears that nothing much happens with their various enterprises unless Gary is directly involved.

Neville returned the following March after his brief and inglorious reign at Valencia to announce that the Class of 92 would be withdrawing from its Memorandum of Understanding with Salford to develop the new stadium complex. To use a technical footballing term, this was a bit of a sickener for Salford. In vain did they try to win back Gary’s favour but the reality was that his thinking about ‘Academy 92’ had moved on and, as we understand from Salford insiders, he did not believe that Salford as an institution had the necessary academic strength and reputation to further his ambitions. By now he was no longer thinking of his Academy as a mere adjunct to Salford City FC but as being a university in its own right, hence his approach to Lancaster. He may have been guided in his thinking by Professor Amanda Broderick, who continued her association with him long after she left Salford. In January 2016 she became a director of the newly-formed Education 92 Ltd, (75% owned by Gary Neville) which was to become the holding company for UA92. She left in December 2016 and received a fulsome joint tribute acknowledging her key role in the thinking behind UA92 from Gary and our very own Mark E Smith:

‘We would like to thank Amanda for her considerable work in progressing this project to the point of launch. She has played a leading role in the development of the core education innovation which is the foundation upon which UA92 is being built.’

subtext is confident that we have not heard the last of Professor Broderick’s contributions to UA92 and look forward to her again taking an active part in its development. As to her old employer, all they can do is sigh and reflect on what might have been. As they say, a sickener… or maybe a bullet dodged?



New light has recently been shed on the UA92 curriculum, thanks to some nifty undercover work at a recent UCAS recruitment fair by an activist from the Save Turn Moss campaign in Stretford. According to a UA92 representative, all teaching is to be packed into the first two and a half days of the week, with Wednesday afternoons given over to sport, and the remaining two days for work placements and for part-time students to get on with their day jobs. Yes, it will be nothing but fun! fun! fun! if you are lucky enough to become a UA92 student and join Gary’z matez.

Unfortunately, there was no information forthcoming on how the 5 compulsory ‘Target Talent Curriculum’ modules would be delivered under this split-week format. These modules make up 40% of the curriculum so a little clarity for prospective students would have been helpful. The UA92 Prospectus doesn’t assist much either. It states that students ‘can expect traditional workshops and lectures, alongside hands-on sessions, internships, placements and volunteering’ but with no information as to how these are to be weighted. The only information given on assessment for the Target Talent Curriculum is that it will be portfolio-based and ‘assessed on your individual development journey’. Imagine trying to get that one past a QAA audit in the old days.



Our Stretford sleuth, who works in a university, raises an interesting point regarding the UA92 split week. If teaching is confined to half a week, and UA92 is to be a teaching-only institution, this implies fractional contracts for teaching staff. No doubt this is an issue that will be of concern to UCU Regional Officer Martyn Moss, currently engaged in discussions with UA92 about trade union recognition. It may be a surprise to readers that this is not already covered by UCU’s current agreement with Lancaster but as UA92 is a separate entity (although 40% owned by Lancaster) there is no obligation to recognise any union. This is the line that has been taken by Coventry University and its wholly-owned subsidiary, CU Coventry. The latter offers ‘no-frills’ degrees at reduced fee levels and pays its staff below the nationally-agreed pay scales and on inferior conditions of service. Its management has refused to recognise UCU or any other union and instead has set up a ‘Staff Consultative Group’ and signed a union recognition agreement with it (see https://www.ucu.org.uk/CovUniShame) An indication of things to come down Stretford way?



Kate Green, Labour MP for Stretford and Urmston, has at last come off the fence and given her support to those objecting to Gary Neville’s plans to take over large tracts of green space for his Salford City FC expansion plans. Stretford residents (and some local Labour councillors) have been frustrated by her previous support for the Trafford Masterplan, which has the development surrounding UA92 as its centrepiece. Indeed, after her meeting earlier this year with Lancaster VC Mark E Smith, she declared herself to be ‘reassured’ by what he had said about the quality of the enterprise (see subtext 171).

So why the change of heart? Could it be that, after many years of Tory control, Trafford could be taken by Labour in the forthcoming local elections? Kate Green certainly thinks so, as reported in a recent article in The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/apr/15/labour-sets-its-sights-on-trafford-the-only-tory-borough-in-greater-manchester

It seems that the Save Turn Moss campaign has had a significant impact in the area, including in the more well-heeled, traditionally Tory-voting parts. The current Tory-run Council has done itself no favours with its cack-handed and insensitive responses to the genuine objections of residents concerned about their dwindling stock of public green space. The indignation sparked by the opposition to the money-making plans of a gang of millionaire footballers may just tip the balance come election time on 3 May. The Class of 92 have often been quoted as ‘wanting to give something back’ to the area. Wouldn’t it be ironic if what they gave back to Trafford was its first Labour administration in fourteen years?


Next Wednesday’s Senate meeting will be, if the Chief Administrative Officer has her way, its final one as one of our two senior governing bodies, alongside the Council. Major proposals to amend our Charter, Statutes and Ordinances, originally proposed in February but deferred to May, following a refreshing lack of willingness by our senators to roll over when asked, are to be re-presented next week.

The changes clarify the relative powers of the Council and the Senate – and henceforth the Senate will very much be the junior partner. Here’s a summary:

– The Chancellor will no longer be the ‘Head of the University’, just a person who is able to confer degrees.

– The Court is abolished (see subtext 172). The proposed ‘Annual Public Meeting’ does not get any mention in our Statutes.

– The Council can establish and disestablish colleges, faculties and departments, without having to act on a recommendation of the Senate. It must take the Senate’s views into account, but it may overrule them.

– The Council no longer requires the concurrence of the Senate to amend the Statutes and Ordinances.

– The Senate no longer has a role in appointing the Vice-Chancellor. Previously the VC was appointed by the Council on the recommendation of a joint subcommittee of the Senate and the Council; now the decision will be made by the Council alone.

– The Council will no longer include representatives of the non-academic staff or Lancaster City Council.

Well at least we now know where we stand. Or sit. subtext readers concerned at this total power grab are advised to lobby their Head of Department accordingly.

As noted, the latest set of statute changes will remove the representatives of non-academic staff and Lancaster City Council from the University Council. This seems to have been accepted rather meekly by the parties concerned; in the case of Lancaster City Council, their last representative, Cllr Andrew Warriner, had a decidedly poor attendance record, so perhaps the city council felt it didn’t have much of a leg to stand on. But, formally, the positions remain until the Privy Council amends our statutes.

Anyone examining the current list of Council members on the Secretariat’s webpage wouldn’t know this, however, since it contains no mention of the soon-to-be-abolished positions at all! Jumping the gun? Or accepting the inevitable?



Actually, looking at the list of Council members, subtext noticed something interesting. The five-year term of office of our Pro-Chancellor (aka the Chair of Council), Lord Liddle, had been due to expire on 31 July 2018. Would he face any difficulties in securing a second five-year term of office (see subtext 165)? Well, now his term of office is listed as ending on 31 July 2020! What’s happened here? Has Lord Liddle struck a Granita-style deal with former security supremo Baroness Neville-Jones, our ambitious Deputy Pro-Chancellor, whose term of office is up on 31 July 2020? To be honest, we’ve no idea. Any Council members interested in serving as a mole for subtext should contact us at the usual address.


The College Deaneries are about to undergo a large shakeup, with the means of selecting Assisting Deans set to change drastically.

Assistant Deans have historically been appointed by the College Principal, on the recommendation of the College Dean, are always postgraduate students (they may have been exceptions, but these would be rare), and are recompensed in the form of a rent rebate. ADs can get a 100% rebate on their respective College’s cheapest rooms, and can pay the difference out of their own pocket for anything more expensive. As it has always been an ‘office’ rather than a ‘job’, the role is not subject to employment law, and requires the post-holder to be on call and live on campus.

But it would appear that the University has had some Legal Advice, and is now in a mad dash to redefine the whole role and place any future Assistant Deans on hourly-paid HR contracts for 11.5 hours a week over 41 weeks.

While the prospect of Assistant Deans being afforded some small luxuries like holiday entitlement and employment rights is appetising, some are concerned that an hourly rate, rather than what is essentially a tied cottage, is actually going to leave them out of pocket.

One of the main discrepancies in pay is going to be across different colleges. As an Assistant Dean is still expected to be ordinarily resident on campus, it follows that the post-holders will have to spend all of the money they make from the Deanery on their accommodation. ADs get a 100% rebate on the cheapest accommodation in their college, but since Lonsdale’s cheapest room is more expensive than Bowland’s cheapest room, some ADs are going to benefit more than others.

The new reimbursement is also going to play merry hell with an AD’s taxes. Since ADs are expected to be on call, they are required to live on campus, and it is this distinction that made the rent rebate benefit non-taxable. If an AD is not earning over the tax threshold, then simply paying rent by direct debit isn’t going to present a problem.

If they are earning over the threshold, they would presumably have to fill in a self-assessment return to claim a tax rebate for their accommodation costs, and while the AD’s finances will eventually put themselves right, it’s no good waiting until the end of the tax year for any sum of money when you’re living hand to mouth.

subtext also understands that ADs are being told they will no longer be permitted to live in family flats, the bizarre rationale being that all ADs should live in the same block within a college. How they will accommodate for applicants who have, er, families, is unknown. Isn’t this discriminatory?

It’s hard to work out how the proposed new rate is going to affect the on-call duties of Assistant Deans. Will they be able to claim overtime, or is the on-call function going to be abolished entirely? Because if it is abolished, it would diminish both the need to have an AD living on campus, and the general effectiveness of the college deanery.

So why all this pettifogging and meddling in the college’s affairs from the centre? One thing’s for sure, the new system is going to pull a very large legal rug out from under an awful lot of people. Under the old system, somebody whose MA or PhD funding agreement was predicated on them not taking on any paid work could plausibly deny that they had a proper job (since they basically didn’t, they held an office) and save a bit of money on their rent. The change could also affect ADs on tier 4 visas.

The subtext collective could be completely wrong about the setbacks here, and the ADs may well end up feeling like a box of fluffy ducks. The trouble is, the concerns have not been allayed by the university, and a lot of current AD’s are a little miffed by it.

Still, it certainly is nice for Assistant Deans to be formally protected, even if the move may be perceived as distrust of the Colleges – not that the centre has ever been anything but respectful of college autonomy over the last 15 years, no sirree.



The Colleges are currently on the lookout for new Assistant Deans. The role is a great way to continue contributing to your College. On top of that, you won’t have to worry about your rent. Much.


The construction work on campus continues to be a logistical and auditory nightmare for staff and students alike. Many tutors have complained about the ‘bomb shelter experience’, but while most of us can find ways to get away from the noise, let us spare a thought for the poor souls who have slunk off to do some transcribing, only to find that they can barely hear their interviews over the sound of machinery on their dictaphones.


The Students’ Union came under fire (http://scan.lusu.co.uk/index.php/2018/04/24/a-glorified-school-disco-plans-to-move-grad-ball-to-the-great-hall-fall-flat-among-students/) after it announced the line-up and venue for this year’s Grad Ball. Students are deeply unhappy that the event is moving from Blackpool Tower to the Great Hall (where the majority of Grad Balls were held until 2012), and with the perceived ‘cheap’ quality of the acts on offer for £55. It has been slammed as a ‘glorified school disco’ as though it were an insult, rather than exactly what Grad Ball has always been.

We are reminded of the last time (http://scan.lusu.co.uk/index.php/2015/04/30/students-priced-out-of-grad-ball/) the student body erupted in fury over the SU’s plans for Grad Ball. In 2015, students were deeply unhappy with the ticket prices (£59), and sent numerous abusive messages to officers and staff complaining that LUSU didn’t keep costs down by… booking cheaper acts and moving the event to the Great Hall!

What do they want? Jam on it?



It’s not just the backlash to this year’s Grad Ball that reminds us of the uproar in 2015. Much like in 2015, a small number of enterprising students have decided to put on an alternative event, ‘by the people, and for the people.’

The effort three years ago quickly fell apart like a clown’s car when nobody knew who was arranging it, announcements and venues were promised and passed us by, and none of the ‘organisers’ could explain how it was going to be funded. The students quickly lost faith in the project when they began to suspect that the organisers were just a bunch of slipshod hucksters after their money. The valiant heart of the rebel uprising sunk shortly thereafter.

This year’s effort is a slightly more sophisticated one. The organisers are known (and popular on campus), they have a venue (Viva Blackpool, ‘one of the most prestigious event venues in the North.’ Apparently.), and the organisers have connections to ‘TABUKI’, a ‘well-established house music brand based in Lancaster.’

What they don’t have, however, is any guarantee that the event will go ahead. It’s a ‘speculate to accumulate’ affair, and if there aren’t enough tickets sold to cover the costs of the venue and the acts, it’s refunds all round and no harm done. But if it does work out, it’d rely on students getting tickets without knowing what they’re going to get. If enough people duly fork out for their early bird ticket, how many are going to demand a refund when they find out that they’ve paid for a front row seat to see P.J. Proby, the KPM All-Stars, and a Pat Boone tribute artist? [What’s wrong with that? Sounds like a cracking night – Ed.]

The subtext collective is mildly cynical, but we hope that both this and the official Grad Ball are a success.


LU Text isn’t perfect, and in trying to provide a weekly roundup of Lancaster’s mentions in the press, it is inevitably going to miss the odd story here and there. Hence, we produce LU Text Lost and Found with only the most collegial intentions at heart.

First up, the Sale & Altrincham Messenger reports that the ex-footballer and devoted philanthropist Gary Neville, who readers may know as our business partner in a venture to set up a new university in Manchester, has landed himself in trouble with the Advertising Standards Agency. It turns out that the prospectus for UA92 is wooing potential learners with multiple all weather 3G pitches, even though they have only sought planning permission for one, and the permission hasn’t even been granted yet. Come on Gary, get your head in the game! http://www.messengernewspapers.co.uk/news/16136609.UA92_plan_breaches_advertising_regulations/

Those who enjoyed our analysis of the gender pay gap at Lancaster (the third largest in the UK) might also enjoy the Times Higher’s report on it. https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/gender-pay-gap-how-much-less-are-women-paid-your-university#survey-answer


subtext regrets to report that many staff returned from their Easter break and logged on to read their email, only to be confronted by a truly horrific image.

Their face.

Emails on campus were previously accompanied by a brightly coloured circle containing the sender’s initials, but no more. Our photos have been imported from the HR portal to the Office 365 system, meaning that the process of checking through one’s emails is now akin to scrolling through a Facebook timeline. In the average day, a staff member might expect to be confronted by their self-portrait several hundred times – a terrifying prospect.

Fortunately for the less egocentric amongst us, it’s possible to change our picture by going to our profile, clicking on the image and replacing it with something more friendly. A majestic landscape, perhaps, or a bunch of flowers. Maybe a nice EU flag. Anything to avoid that gurning visage.


subtext was unable to report on the LUSU General Meeting last month, so here’s SCAN’s report: http://scan.lusu.co.uk/index.php/2018/03/15/union-on-the-defensive-in-ill-tempered-agm/

What was of interest to subtext was the excuses reeled off by the officer team for the poor attendance. Students were blamed for not tabling exciting agenda items and instead expecting their elected officers to show leadership and promote a talking point. A discussion about space on campus isn’t exactly going to be a huge draw, and the subtext collective does wonder why LUSU doesn’t learn the lesson from its very recent history that it isn’t actually all that difficult to achieve a quorate general meeting.

Due to the low attendance, no business could be voted on by those in attendance. The general meetings bye-law states that, in the event of inquoracy, ‘the meeting shall stand adjourned to [sic] the same day in the next week [sic] at the same time and place or to such other day [sic] as the Trustees may determine.’

At the time of writing, the meeting has not reconvened.


The passing of the comedian Jim Bowen last month was keenly felt in our neck of the woods. He became a household name in the 1980s as the presenter of ‘Bullseye’, but he was known to Lancastrians in the 1970s as a teacher at several schools in the area. Younger Lancastrians may remember him for different reasons.

In the early 90s, some bright spark Bowland social secretary had the idea of booking the notoriously ‘blue’ comic to perform in the college bar. Bowen didn’t manage many, err, ‘off-colour’ gags before he was booed off the stage. After having a drink poured over him by a Sikh in the audience, Bowen asked the head bouncer to provide an escort. He obliged, and called over his very large, very black colleague to assist. Bowen, recognising his awkward situation, allegedly asked if he could expect any help if it all kicked off, to which the answer was a very confident ‘no’. Bowen was wished well in his escape.

Some time later, the unfortunate Jim Bowen, who lived in a converted railway station, received a phone call from a ‘representative of British Regional Railways’ (actually Louis Barfe, doing a wind-up for University Radio Bailrigg). Those wanting to listen to Bowen advising on how best to market a railway line as a tourist attraction using his likeness and trademarks can do so here: www.soundcloud.com/louis-barfe/full-frontal-crudity-jim-bowen


Dear subtext,

This picture on the University homepage is pretty poor and not inviting AT ALL. Subconsciously, it just does not work:


The main focus of the picture is the father figure and not the offspring who is on the visit day. Offspring is set back behind the tour guide and behind the parent. Offspring is looking at the ground. Do you really want Subway in the background of the home page? Thankfully the Chemist’s window is advertising hayfever tablets, could have been worse.

There are so many better backdrops for a photo to advertise the University via the homepage. Have the guide, the young person on a visit day (looking ahead), have the parents but not in the forefront and have a decent architectural backdrop.

Name supplied