January in the Principal’s Office

Look what we’ve found – Peter M’s diary for January! It was bound to happen some time or another  as everything gets leakED around here eventually… 

Week 1

Monday 9:00am

Beginning of term again, and just when I think everything’s fine, I get an anxious phone call from Colm. 

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‘Peter, bad news, it’s LEARN’.

‘Oh god, what’s happened?’ 

‘It hasn’t crashed!’

‘I don’t understand, what’s the issue then?’

‘Well, if it hasn’t crashed then the students can see what’s on there.’

‘Your point being?’

‘There’s nothing there. We were relying on the 9am crash to get everything finished in time’.

Damn, another good start.


Had some rather worrying news, seems the students are getting rather noisy again over accommodation.

I don’t see the issue though, there shouldn’t be any in the accommodation.

You see, thanks to some careful planning we’ve formed an expert solution to students’ learning, providing support as they learn remotely. As we haven’t remotely supported them before, I think they’ll be thrilled.

Another thing I can’t understand is, why they’re complaining about the lack of in person learning. As long as they show up, how much more ‘in person’ can they be? If my lockdown yoga has taught me anything, it’s that just showing up means you’ve already won.

Granted I only showed up once. And I didn’t do much yoga, just watched while Adriene did it all. In her leggings…


More worrying news, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that the students aren’t pleased about the Russel Gang’s statement on no detriment.

Personally, I think they’re over-reacting. When we showed Chancellor Muscatelli our new streamlined extensions service, he was delighted.

‘Perfect! Students will be delighted that all passive aggressive rejections will be stylistically similar!’

I know!

Oh. Maybe they’ll think it was Glasgow’s idea all along, hmm, might have to clear that up?


Bloody EUSA! They’ve only gone and made a fuss over no detriment. 

I am determined we’re going to stand our ground. 

I have been very clear on my position, and that is Edinburgh is a prestigious university. We want our students’ grades to reflect the hard work and dedication we know they can achieve. 

And therefore, we want to make sure that they are in no way based off the hard work and dedication we know that they achieved. 


I’m making Colm break the no detriment news to the students in one of his emails. 

‘Can I put an anecdote about my 5th birthday party?’ he asks. ‘I think its relevant and you know, personal touch and all. I’m thinking of starting it ‘Lads, lads, lads, hope you’re all gnarly…’

‘Sure, great, do whatever, just stick the no detriment stuff at the bottom, hopefully they’ll have given up on the email before they get to that point.

‘Oh, and Colm, make sure that you say we were involved in the discussions. I don’t want them to think that the new extensions service was Glasgow’s idea’.

Week 2


Looking forward to some Bridgerton tonight. 

Seems to really resonate with me, sort of – familiar? 

I mean of course, it’s just a bunch of poshos in ridiculous clothes worrying about who they’ll get off with. Or was that that Pollock documentary?


Just told the students not to come back and we’ll be online for the rest of the semester. 

Truth is, I actually don’t want them to come back at all. 

It would be the perfect solution to all the problems we’ve been having. To name a few, we won’t need to teach, counsel or house them. So, you see, no students, no problems.

Week 3


Colm stole my cheese yesterday, so I’ve decided to make him threaten to expel the students again if they breach Covid guidelines. 

He’ll have his tail between his legs for a day or so, but it’ll be a laugh. 

Feeling concerned, the university’s expenses are up the creek. Must have been that flat pack I ordered. 

All I wanted was the Ikea Förvaringsenhet. Couple days later, however, what turns up is not a wardrobe, but a ruddy great storage unit. We stuck it in Bristo Square last semester and called it the Student Village. 

Half the screws were missing, it’s a death trap. I should tell someone, we can’t lose anymore fees, but I think Colm lost the receipt so no sending it back.

Oh well, looks like we’ll have to save by cutting the King’s shuttle bus altogether, or maybe pensions – no let’s have some fun, let’s cut both.


Now the art students are complaining, can’t think why. Maybe if we gift them each a roll of sticky-back-plastic they’ll keep quiet. 

Seems they want access to their facilities, even though they aren’t scientists and therefore pose no value to the economy whatsoever. 

Plus, science involves working with dangerous chemicals and specialist equipment. I’d like to see a photography student answer to that.

The good news is, Peter from Bake Off is being sponsored by Rye Vita. Now that we know he’ll work with stuff that’s bland, dry and been around far too long, maybe he’ll replace Colm as my right-hand man. 

Image: Wikimedia Commons

(Image Description: Peter Mathieson, vice-chancellor of University of Edinburgh, with a pair of pink heart-shaped sunglasses on)