University's answer to 'masturbation notice' foi request was hilarious (and required by law)

Freedom of Information requests are brilliant. You can ask virtually anything of your university and (as long as it doesn't cost them too much to answer) they are legally required to give you an answer.

Ask UCL, for instance, how much they spent on biscuits in 2015 and they have to tell you they spent £60,000 on biscuits.

Ask UCL how much pornography their staff have watched in the last year and they have to tell you (it's A LOT by the way - pull it together UCL, for god's sake. Put down the biscuits and take your hands out your pants, there's a good university).

But our new favourite Freedom of Information Request comes from a guy who wrote to the University of St Andrews, demanding an explanation for the "masturbation notice" (pictured below) allegedly created by the University of St Andrews and on display outside the library.

Steve Elibank's letter demanded an explanation for the notices, and by law the University was required to respond. What they weren't required to do was crack jokes and recommend a reading list, in case the requester wanted to do any further academic reading on masturbation...

The notice

"Masturbation in the library toilet is a violation of the University of St Andrew's Library Regulations. The recently refurbished toilet floors are not designed to handle your semen! The excessive amount of semen stains on the floor cost thousands of pounds to be removed professionally and must be reflected in tuition fee rises for next year. It's YOUR money. Please go home and masturbate if you are bored. Please enquire at the Library Help Desk if you have any questions. Thank you for your cooperation."

The Freedom of Information Request

"Dear University of St Andrews,

This Freedom of Information request concerns the "masturbation
notice" allegedly created by the University of St Andrews, and
which has been floating around the Internet for a while.

1) Please inform me of whether or not the notice is genuine, and if
it is genuine, of how many copies are currently on display around
the University.

2) Please provide me with an electronic copy of all internal
correspondence regarding the decision to create the notices.

Incidentally, if the answer to question (1) is that the notice is
an Internet forgery, then I must apologise for this rather
tasteless message!

Yours faithfully,
Steve Elibank (Wanking enthusiast)"

The (legally required) response from the University of St Andrews

"Dear Steve

Thank you for your FoI Request re “Masturbation Notice”.

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 notice
appears to be a copycat issue of a similar text which appeared recently at
Durham and Lancaster universities and a number of universities in the
States. A quick check on Google should give you more information about
these incidents should you require it.

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 13^th 2011. The
notices were removed by Library staff shortly afterwards.

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
Laqueur, pub Zone Books, New York, 2003:

http://resourcelists.st-andrews.ac.uk/it...
Available from the short loan section, and as of 3 p.m. this afternoon,
one copy still available to borrow.

I trust this answers your request, but if you require any further
information, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Kind regards

Niall

Niall Scott
Director of Corporate Communications
University of St Andrews"


Like this? Check out the Woman who saved £11,000 in a year (but used a super soaker instead of toilet paper) or the university that spent £57,196 on biscuits in year and a half

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