Edinburgh, SCOTLAND. All Universities are to introduce a form that all academics must fill in, and have signed off, before they are allowed to speak, TheScienceWeb has learned. The form not only covers academic presentations, but also all conversations held on a daily basis.
“Basically, the new rules are simple” said Julie Obsworth, of the Federation of Universities UK (FUUK). “If someone asks you a question, any question, or you have the urge to say something, anything, then you must first fill in the form. Once the form has been approved and signed off by your line manager, the communications committee and the Principal, you can say the words” she finished.
When asked how often the communications committee met to consider such requests, Julie replied “every quarter”.
“If you are asked a question, then you must write down the question in full, including any context. Please then also propose your answer. The committee will consider whether your answer a) could represent a legal problem, and b) fits in with the University’s tone of voice. We will then present you with an updated, edited answer, one that better suits the University’s goals” she continued.
“If you have an urge to say something without being prompted, then we would urge you to a) not do that, and b) refer to the University’s 192-page policy document on communication. If, having considered both of those issues, you still want to say something, then fill in part B of the form and the committee will decide whether it is appropriate or not” Julie explained.
“Basically, if you are in any doubt, and you are about to make any noise at all – fill in the form” she finished.
We tried in vain to get a response from academics to this news, but none of them would say a single word to us….