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Students have their say on university pay

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Students have their say on university pay

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A university vice-chancellor was handed more than £800,000 in her final year, including a hefty departure payment, it has been revealed. Charlie Wetton and James Murray report on the story. 

An “urgent overhaul” of senior pay at British Universities has been called for by the University and College Union (UCU), following the latest developments in the story.

The accounts for Bath Spa University show that Professor Christina Slade was paid £429k for “loss of office” alongside her £250k salary, with other benefits also included.

Professor Slade was granted a housing allowance of £20k to go with a further £20k for “other benefits-in-kind”. Another £89k worth of contributions was given towards her pension, which totalled her final pay package up to £808k.

Responding to criticism levelled at Professor Slade and the university, a spokeswoman for Bath Spa University, said: “Having taken legal advice, the university paid Professor Slade a sum which reflected her contractual and statutory entitlements, and was considered to represent value for money.”

With the heavy cost and small recent rise in tuition fees, students across the country are confused at the large payouts.

First year student at London South Bank University (LSBU), Katie, said: “It’s too high in comparison to other workers that are employed by the University – it’s really unfair.”

Second year politics student also at LSBU, Sam, said: “They should come out and say what they’re doing, to show us what we’re getting, then we can decide whether they’re worth it.”

Third year, Sarah, said: “The pay of vice-chancellors is justified, because they do have an important job. However, I don’t think that the extra bonus on top is right – it’s just not needed.”

Lord Adonis, who is leading a debate on vice-chancellor pay in the House of Lords, said: “If £800,000 represents value for money for a vice-chancellor, then I am the emperor of China.”

He said such high rates of pay were not acceptable when students could potentially be racking up debts of £100k because of the way interest was stacking up.

Lord Adonis is now calling for an independent investigation into the pay of vice-chancellors.

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