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28th February 2018

Most Vice-Chancellors help determine their own pay

The University of Manchester confirmed that President and Vice-Chancellor Dame Nancy Rothwell does not attend meetings concerning her pay
Most Vice-Chancellors help determine their own pay
Photo: The University of Manchester

A Freedom of Information request by the University and Colleges Union (UCU) has revealed that 95 per cent of Vice-Chancellors at UK universities attend the committee meetings that regulate their own pay.

In addition, a substantial 47 per cent of those institutions admitted that the vice-chancellor was actually a member of the remuneration committee.

The average salary of Vice-Chancellors at UK universities increased by over 50 per cent since the 2005/2006 academic year.

Just seven of the 158 institutions surveyed said their Vice-Chancellor was in effect barred from attending.

The University of Manchester has confirmed that Nancy Rothwell is not a member of their remuneration committee, adding that “the President and Vice-Chancellor can only be invited to attend Remuneration Committee meetings for matters other than those relating to her own pay.”

In January, the Committee of University Chairs (CUC) advised universities that allow vice-chancellors should play no part in the decision-making process.

In addition, UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said staff and students should be given seats on the pay remuneration committees and all minutes should be made public.

The new information was released in mid-February, a week before the start of UCU members’ four-week-long strike plans.

UCU members are striking across 61 institutions  in response to a change to their pension schemes that could see members an estimated £10,000 worse off in each year of their retirement.

In reaction to the strikes, students have established several petitions demanding monetary compensation for contact hours missed.

The apparent influence many UK Vice-Chancellors have on their own salary level has also angered many students.

One first year student at the University of Manchester told The Mancunion: “we are paying some of the highest university fees in the world. The strike action is stopping us from getting what we are paying over £9000 for. It’s not fair to anyone that the chancellors are earning so much when it’s students who have to suffer.”

It has been reported previously by The Mancunion that the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Manchester, Dame Nancy Rothwell, has an annual salary of £260,399.

Whilst one first-year student claimed this was “outrageously high, and a bit unnecessary”, many students have defended the salary. Dame Rothwell is close to, but still below the average salary of a vice-chancellor, and some have noted the difference between her pay and the pay of other vice-chancellors. Glynis Breakwell, former Vice-Chancellor of Bath University, for example, had a salary of £468,000.

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