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Universities Urged to Be More Transparent Over Vice-Chancellor Pay

Posted by Richard Ward in

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

The general secretary of the University and College Union (UCU), Sally Hunt, has called for universities to be more transparent over their policies on rewarding senior staff.

She suggested too many vice-chancellors sit on their institution's very own committee responsible for setting pay, resulting in conflicts of interest and public discontent.

Ms Hunt added: "For too long vice-chancellors have hidden behind the shadowy remuneration committee when it comes to their pay. However, in the majority of cases, the vice-chancellor sits on that committee and the university refuses to issue minutes of the meeting.

"Students and their families are spending more than ever to fund their studies and universities should be fully transparent about how and why they are spending that money. It is time to lift the lid on the secretive world of university remuneration committees."

The unions comments come after four MPs stepped down from Bath University's court in protest over the vice-chancellor of Bath University's pay rise, which will make them the highest paid vice-chancellor in the country.

The latest MP to resign, Darren Jones, said: "I could have accepted it as being normal or I could take a stand. My constituents pay for an education, not excessive executive pay. And they elected me to take a stand, so I resigned."

Supporters of the vice-chancellor of Bath University, point towards the transformation of the university since Glynis Breakwell took over in 2001. They point to Bath's excellent results in the government's research and teaching rankings, and the recent Gold award in the teaching excellence framework.

The row over pay comes as figures show a decline in the number of admissions this year.