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Issue 482, 20 May 2002


Braving the elements with a beard

Martin Dodson
School of Earth Sciences

In your feature about the archives (Reporter 480) you describe Professor P F Kendall as 'chair of geography'. Fiddlesticks! Who ever saw a geographer wearing such a beard, let alone exposed to the elements on Fylingdale Moor?  Professor Kendall was, of course, professor of geology, and head of department (not 'chair' or even 'chairman', a category which only took hold half a century later).

Perhaps I should assure your readers that some of my best friends are geographers.

The last word on public transport …

Name supplied

The arrogance of so many contributors to your column never ceases to amaze me. We have the bikers who are fit enough to ride into work and the public transport commuters all sat high on their pedestals preaching how morally righteous they are. Why would I wish to sit (or stand) on an overcrowded, smelly and often late bus next to one of these people on my way to work?

 Personally I would like to take their argument one step further. Public transport creates much too much pollution and the high volume of CO2 and body odour given out by the panting cyclists leads me to one solution. As an owner of a number of horses, I am more than willing to insist that we all come to work on horseback with stabling made available by the University for those who share their journey with a colleague.

I will make a number of standardbred, thoroughbred and hacks (to match your budget) available at a reduced rate to staff and we can all come to work pollution-free and have beautiful roses to boot.

Let's all get off our high horses and realize that we should all have the right to decide how we get in to work ourselves without having other people's lifestyles shoved down our throats. One size does NOT fit all. Please let's change the record.

… but don't forget the pedestrians

Sylvia Federico
School of English

In the midst of this debate about cars, buses, and bikes, is the humble pedestrian trying to get to campus in a way that is safe, direct, and environmentally sound. Walking from Headingley ought to be an agreeable alternative to the impossible road traffic and the filthy, crowded, and slow-moving buses: it should be a nice way to collect or lose one's thoughts, and to stretch the legs as well. But there is a huge problem which prevents many staff from walking even when they live close in to the University: the dangers to life and limb encountered between Hyde Park corner and the western entrance to the campus.

This route – the most direct one – is made impossible not only by the absence of lighting in the park (an unsafe way home on a winter's afternoon) but especially by the extremely dangerous, unregulated four-point intersection at University Road. This intersection witnesses a steady stream of foot traffic throughout the day.

Without a light or a zebra crossing, people take their lives in their hands dodging speeding cars and turning buses. Surely something as simple as a pedestrian overpass could solve this problem.

We're a university not a burger bar

H Blakeman

I write as a long-retired member of staff who visits the precinct on a daily basis.

I opened my e-mail yesterday to find a letter from the director of human resources addressed to the heads of resource centres and felt deep disappointment that the University has travelled so far down the 'business' road. What is wrong with heads of school and personnel director? Perhaps a little too 'human' in this day and age.

Quite apart from the form of address, whose legs are these functionaries pulling? From my own experience, and from what I observe around me, heads of resource centres would not be too easy to find in the University so near to Easter, and neither would most of their academic staff. It was all rather silly.

It's a bit late in the day I'm sure, but I do wish the University would try its best to act like a real one and not follow in the footsteps of the likes of McDonalds.

I suppose one should take some comfort from the fact that we have resource centres and not 'centers'.

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