In which Big Brother is watching the editor
"Our staff in the Development and Alumni Relations Office make rigorous efforts to keep abreast of our alumni, and sometimes during the course of their work they come across a former D_____ student who deserves our recognition and commendation."
Although not wishing to pander to the editor's lamentable tendency towards melodramatics, even Lady Bracknell is forced to admit that she would be somewhat discomfited herself were she to receive such concrete proof that her alma mater was scouring the press for mentions of her name more than twenty years after she had graduated from its hallowed portals.
One wonders whether the Vice-Chancellor sends letters of disapprobation to alumni who have strayed from the moral precepts inculcated in them by their tutors during their undergraduate years. It is, perhaps, fortunate that the editor did not choose to apply the reasoning skills she developed during her three years at D_____ to the pursuit of a life of crime.
Far be it from Lady Bracknell to imply by word or deed that institutes of higher education bear even so much as a passing resemblance to ivory towers. Nevertheless, she considers the final paragraph of the Vice-Chancellor's letter to be indicative of a belief in the enduring significance and impact of a D____ degree which borders, let us be frank, on fantasy:
"May I take this opportunity to express my hope that you maintain your links with D____? The success and reputation of the University is dependent on the progress and achievements of our alumni, and in turn this helps our undergraduates to be confident that their degree holds real value in our society."
This particular problem of etiquette has never previously presented itself to Lady Bracknell. Ought the editor to reply to the Vice-Chancellor's letter? If so, and given that she expresses no desire to "maintain her links" with D____ for the purpose of inspiring undergraduates, what should she say?
Readers are invited to submit their opinions on this quandary via the handy comments facility.