University knocks out a master class in handling student pranks

The notice was posted in the university library

SCOTLAND’S oldest university has seen the funny side of a student prank about solo sex.

A joker posted a bogus “official” notice at St Andrews University which banned students from indulging in self-gratification in the library.

Another student then used the Freedom of Information Act (FoI) to establish whether the notice was genuine.

The university – which educated the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge– confirmed the notice was a fake and said it supported the study of self-pleasuring.

The tongue-in-cheek FoI response stated: “Far from having a policy on masturbation or outlawing the practice, as the bogus notice alleged, the University encourages the study of it, academically at least.

“Among the titles in the University Library is “Solitary Sex : A Cultural History of Masturbation” by Thomas Walter.”

The University added: ““The notice to which you refer is not an official university notice. It was a student prank, and regrettably not even an original prank.”


The response to Steve Elibank continued: “A strong clue that the notice is fake is the line ‘Please go home and masturbate if you are bored.’

“As a matter of policy, the University would never encourage students to go home during term time.

“I understand that two copies of the notice were attached, with chewing gum, to doors of the male toilets in the University of St Andrews Main Library on or about the afternoon of Sunday November 13th 2011.

“The notices were removed by Library staff shortly afterwards.”

The 600-year-old institution, where Prince William and Kate Middleton met, has spent £14m on refurbishing its library.

The original notice supposedly outlawing onanism said the building was being damaged by students’ lack of restraint.

It added that the damage caused may have to be paid for by increasing tuition fees.

Copies of the original notice, and the FoI response, have been put online and proved a big hit with students and academics, getting thousands of hits.

Student Kate Bowman first posted a picture of the notice on her Twitter account, which was ‘retweeted’, or shared, more than 2,000 times.

A picture from Jorge Milburn, posted onto Facebook, was shared more than 14,000 times.

Sam Fowles, 22, director of representation at the University’s students association said: “People think it’s hilarious.

“It shows the University isn’t the stuffy, staid institution you sometimes think it is.”

He added: “What’s funny about the notice was how it implied the old floor was resistant.”

He said the identity of whoever posted up the notice in the first place remained a mystery.

Other recent student antics at the university have received a more serious response.

Students from the University’s Conservative Association, who burned an effigy of Barack Obama on East Sands beach, were forced make a public apology this week.