Some predictably stupid news finds its way to me from the University of Liverpool, my alma mater.
Director of Legal Services, Kevan Ryan, has apparently fired off some missives to WordPress that led to the closure of a number of blogs that had repeated certain allegations from The Guardian and Private Eye against VC Howard Newby.
Wordpress pulled the blog, then reinstated all but one of them without the supposedly offending articles, which included speculation on Newby’s relationship with some sort of consultancy firm called Spirit of Creation.
Newby first came to my attention when UofL decided that trifling subjects like Philosophy and Politics should be dispensed with, presumably in favour of far more
lucrative worthwhile sciences.
I don’t know much more about Newby, though I’m disappointed that the university hasn’t seen fit to appoint a new VC with a puntastic noun for a surname – Philip Love and Drummond Bone were a sub’s dream.
I’ve no wish to get embroiled in what exactly has been going on here, but it’s funny how UofL hasn’t really changed one jot in the decade since I last had anything to do with it.
My repeated clashes with the University as editor of the student newspaper weren’t exactly worthy of any Pulitzers, but they were a useful means of cutting one’s teeth.
We dug up all sorts of dirt, which admittedly had not been particularly well hidden, and showed up the University for what it was: bungling and amateurish.
Little seems to have changed. In firing off a takedown to WordPress because of two posts that were over two years old, the UofL has ensured that those blogs have probably received 100 times the exposure they’d have otherwise had.
It’s quite possible there was nothing in the original accusations, and the difficulty in finding any incriminating articles from the broadsheets in search engines suggests they’ve been taken down too. Or has Ryan simply baulked at taking on media well versed in defending accusations of defamation?
Because the possibility that inoffensive stuff like this is what the allegations amount to means the whole thing will have been a huge shot in the foot for UofL and Newby.
What a silly thing to do. But it’s reassuring in a strange way to know that some things always remain the same.
• When the university complained that we only published bad news, we printed the (admittedly childish) piss-taking article called The University of Liverpool Good News Column, reprinted here in all its glory.