After The Eye revealed disturbing facts about rankings trumpeted by Swansea University and anger over news of staff redundancies at Aberystwyth, Edwin Phillips is an uninvited guest at a meeting between dispirited academics of the two universities, (S and A).
S: (Sighing) this is all making us a laughing stock.
A: (Nodding) yes – have you seen the comments in those journals we pretend to read?
S: I know.
It was bad enough for us we had all that Piercy business in the UK papers – now this.
There are those reports about H L-S (Hilary Lappin-Scott, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Swansea University) and her ridiculous tweets.
Then she sends out those absurd emails going on about how good we are.
A: (Smirking) yes however bad it gets here we can always look at you lot!
S: (Sighing again) quite.
It’s embarrassing her saying stuff like “We are delighted to see Swansea is again in the company of the world’s elite institutions…” when our Accounting and Finance faculty is in fact not even rated in this year QS World University Rankings.
In Medicine and in Physics and Astronomy we’re somewhere between 401st and 450th.
Swansea as a whole is at 390 whereas Cardiff is rated 140 in the world.
Mind you, you’re just as bad.
A: (Going red) all right – we may as well get it over with.
I suppose it is good for you that we’re all talking about how this woman Treasure (Elizabeth Treasure – the Vice-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University) has to clear up the mess left by April (April McMahon – the previous controversial Vice-Chancellor).
(Scratching head) it’s an ironic name in the circumstances because we need money so badly.
As she told us: “… the University’s financial forecast for 2017- 18 and 2018-19 has worsened and the deficit has increased to the extent that the University must take immediate action to reduce its costs …”
S: (Mischievously) yes, and what does ‘immediate action to reduce costs’ mean?
A: (Coughs) getting rid of us.
And that all comes on the back of Aberystwyth going down in those rankings.
We fell four places to 110 (out of 119) in The 2016 Guardian University league table which followed even bigger falls in previous years.
(Looking concerned) everybody knows how much potential students and their parents read The Guardian.
In May three years ago we dropped 17 places to 87 in The Complete University Guide, and again this followed bigger falls in years before.
In The Times and The Sunday Times guide we fell 11 places to 93.
S appears triumphant.
A: (Glumly) I thought we were over the worst after we got rid of April, but now everybody is angry about how jobs apparently have to go while we have that expensive campus on Mauritius.
The worst of it is… I am one of those losing my job.