The Reporter
Issue 493, 27 October 2003
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Letters

Send your letters to editor of the Reporter, Vanessa Bridge. Email the.reporter@leeds.ac.uk or send by internal post to press office, 12.67 E C Stoner building

 

Running the gauntlet (D C Robinson, quality management and enhancement unit) - Despite ‘no smoking’ signs being posted prominently at approximately ten-metre intervals, why is it that every time I approach the LC Miall and Worsley buildings from the direction of Chancellor’s Court I have to run a gauntlet of people smoking along the walkways? A similar situation applies when entering healthcare studies in the Baines Wing.
It is bad enough that non-smokers should have their well-being threatened in this disgusting and anti-social way, but it is surely unforgivable that the ban on smoking should fail to be enforced in areas of the University devoted primarily to health. I trust that the medical school, the schools of healthcare studies and biology, the occupational health service and security and support services will have something to say concerning this matter.

Steven Exley, head of security & support services, replies: The writer is correct; at the begining of the academic year new students seem to be ‘testing the boundaries’. Security and portering staff are enforcing ‘no smoking’ rules as part of their job, and we will consider targetting the areas mentioned, although we would hope that all staff would challenge inconsiderate behaviour, rather than thinking it is some else’s problem. If, when asked, individuals refuse to stop smoking, we can take the matter through disciplinary channels.

All change since '59 (Pat Bradley, postgraduate medical and dental education) – I wonder how many staff at the University started before I did, in 1959? I have not stayed all this time, but have left, and returned to different departments. I began as secretary to the Professor of Civil Engineering, Professor “Concrete” Evans, a very lively small Welsh gentleman. We were in small rooms at the top of the building opposite the Students Union. Then we moved into the state-of-the-art building at the top of Woodhouse Lane, with our own laboratories, with Sidney Groves in charge! We had a “Grand Opening” evening, everyone wearing Dinner jackets and long evening dresses, and caviar etc. The lift was the first of its’ kind, whereby one pressed the button for the floor you wanted to travel to, from the outside, then stepped in and off it went. I remember ushering in the elderly mother of the Professor of Electrical Engineering, pressing the button and then the doors closed and off she went – on her own! I then had to run up three floors to see if she was alright!

We had amazing Dances in the Union – the Agricultural Ball, the Dentists Ball, the Medics Ball, and each one had at least five full bands of different sorts.

One of my friends was Gill Rennie – and I think she stayed in the Bursar’s office for a long time afterwards.

I came back around 1980 to the School of Education, with Miss Trewick in charge, and that is in the same building it has always been.

I do so admire the way the University has bought up the property in Woodhouse Lane. When I was 16, I used to come to dancing classes at Miss Cooke-Yarborough’s Dancing School, and that is now a Department near the Post Office. I now find myself in the old “Pudd School” where many of my friends took Domestic Science Courses, while I was attending the North of England Secretarial College.

In 1991, I joined the Department for Postgraduate Medical and Dental Education in Harrogate, working as PA for the Dean, Mr David Wilson. We stayed there in lovely surroundings for about four years, and then we moved to Seacroft Hospital in a converted Children’s Ward, where the then Dean, Dr Rosemary Macdonald, used a Sluice Room for her Office. For two years, this lovely old building was being renovated, and in February 1997, we moved into Willow Terrace Road, to very modern and comfortable surroundings.

Having worked for two years for the present Dean, Dr Bill Burr, the time has come for me to retire and learn to cook, and so I am leaving at Christmas. But I have thoroughly enjoyed my jobs here; the University is a wonderful employer.

Aristotle saw it first (Roger Brock, classics) I was interested in the University press release on mating behaviour in chickens [see story on page 9], as by a curious coincidence I have a note forthcoming in the Classical Quarterly alerting classicists to the fact that Aristotle correctly reported sperm competition and the principle of last male precedence in chickens. In his Generation of Animals, Aristotle reports that if, after impregnation by a first male, a second male copulates with a hen while the eggs are forming, the whole brood will take after the second cock. This has actually been alluded to in biological literature, though (again oddly) only ever at second hand, via the Italian Renaissance polymath Ulisse Aldrovandi, who devoted a whole book of his Ornithologiae to chickens and refers to Aristotle's observations; there's an English translation of that book of Aldrovandi, but no-one seems to have gone back to Aristotle before. In the process, I find myself citing one of Dr. Pizzari's collaborators, Tim Birkhead: it's a small(ish) world.

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