After new revelations by The Eye this week of growing controversies at scandal-hit Swansea university, Edwin Phillips sits in on an angry meeting between the Vice Chancellor Richard Davies (VC) and his pro Vice-Chancellor Hilary Lappin-Scott (HLS), in overall charge of the university’s contentious School of Management.
VC: I have heard reports that your Twitter messages are making us a laughing stock, Hilary.
HLS: (Firmly) I strongly refute that, Richard.
My messages are informative and bring me closer to all my loyal followers.
VC: How ridiculous.
Those and your emails to staff make it sound as though you perceive yourself as leader of a new religious group.
HLS: I do not see it like that.
Perhaps I should have said that my messages bring me closer to my people.
VC: That sounds even worse.
After all that fuss over the School of Management, this is the last thing we need.
(To self) that dreadful website The Eye are the worst of the lot – they’ve been all over us for years.
It’s a huge relief to us all no-one else has cottoned on!
Even so I can see my knighthood going down the tube…
(Louder) although you are a senior pro Vice-Chancellor, do you really think that describing things on Twitter as “fab”, “ace” and “brill” is a vocabulary in keeping with the intellectual rigour that should attach to your position?
And talking of rigour, do you seriously believe that by posting tweets of sunrises in various parts of the world enhances the public’s perception of the intellectual powerhouse that is Swansea university?
HLS: (Raises her voice) What you don’t seem to appreciate, Richard, is that my tweets are important.
They aren’t simply fodder for the masses, but let them know of my latest trips abroad and appointments.
People need to know that this year alone I have, for example, already visited Australia, America, Canada, England, and Greece.
If they had not heard from me they would naturally have become concerned.
As an example of my tweets being informative, consider the informational content of my message about being stopped three times for passport checks at Schiphol Airport in Holland.
(To self) or is it the Netherlands?
(Coughs) If I had not tweeted this information, families travelling through the airport would have been delayed because of these security checks and it would, no doubt, have ruined their holidays.
Consider also, the inconvenience and frustration for those travelling to Amsterdam for well-known activities.
Even worse, it would have a negative and stressful impact on important academics like myself who may have to wait in line (I can speak from experience).
Don’t forget too I also tweet when I go to conferences
VC: Yes, I have heard about that.
But scribbling one or two trivial tweets on a particular conference session hardly qualifies as a meaningful commentary.
(Head is scratched) it’s bad enough that we had all those awful stories about the management school and the senior people we have had – now this.
HLS: (Seeming not to hear) I am afraid that you have again missed the point, Richard.
It is important that I tweet from conferences to show that I am there and to bring world-wide attention to the conference by my attendance.
And before you bring up the issue raised by The Eye, that all the talks I delivered in Australia were the same, I wish to make it clear that, as a fashion icon, I chose different designer outfits for different locations.
VC: I give up.
Where is my P45?
HLS: Now we’re talking.
But before you go, what’s the Welsh for ‘I would like to apply’?
Do you mind if I put this meeting on Twitter?