Vice Chancellor sits on committee that decides his own pay

Not in any way dodgy at all, not one bit, no SIR

The Vice Chancellor of Cambridge University sits on the committee that sets his own pay, an investigation has revealed.

Data gathered by the University College Union (UCU) under the Freedom of Information Act has shown the outgoing Cambridge VC  Sir Leszek Borysiewicz was among the two thirds of university Vice Chancellors who sit on Senior Staff pay committees, responsible for determining their own levels of pay.

Although said to step out of the room when their own salary is being discussed, Vice Chancellors still command significant influence on the panels deciding their renumeration, which this year awarded an average rise of 3.7 per cent to Russell Group VCs. Many less senior staff received a paltry 1 per cent rise.

Sir Leszek Borysiewicz received a pay rise of 7.3 per cent last year, bringing his overall renumeration package to £349,000 in 2015-16, above the Russell Group average of £342,200. These figures lie far below the top earning Vice Chancellors, with Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell, Vice Chancellor of Bath University, earning £451,000 a year.

In 10 years, the average pay for Vice Chancellors has risen from £165,105 to the current figure of £277,834. While this pales in comparison to the pay for the equivalent positions at American universities, it massively out paces the national average, as well as in public sector, where workers have been subject to an average £1000 real terms cut in wages.

Professor Stephen Troope, the new Vice Chancellor

Professor Stephen Troope, who is set to replace Sir Leszek Borysiewicz at the start of the academic year, has a proposed salary of £400-450k, alongside a ‘grace and favour home’ worth £4.5 million, as reported by The Mail. The news comes as a kick in the teeth to both academic staff, who have received small comparative pay rises, as well as undergraduates, who’s fees are set to rise to £9,250 this year.

Often leaving university with debts of £50,000, many students are doubting the value of an undergraduate degree in todays job market. Accusations of higher education being ‘a racket’ are often levelled at the institutions failing to provide value for money qualifications. These revelations are unlikely to do much to counter such criticisms.

The Tab has contacted the Cambridge UCU for comment.

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