Here’s how Stephen Toope spent his Vice-Chancellor expenses before and after Covid hit

How many unnecessary lockdown purchases has our Vice-Chancellor made?


Ever wondered what our Vice-Chancellor really does all day? How he supports his fast-paced lifestyle of email-sending and “academic rigour”? Well, wonder no more. Other than telling us that he’s still taking a 15 per cent pay cut, a Tab Cambridge investigation has uncovered the scandalous ways that Stephen Toope manages his expenses.

“Expenses” account for purchases made by or on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor on any company card. In 2019, it was found that Cambridge University spent nearly £40,000 in three years booking staff into expensive hotels, so we were keen to find out whether the cost of Toope’s lifestyle has decreased with his salary, or whether he’s still finding exciting ways to splash cash in this pandemic. Here’s what we found out:

Boujee restaurants are of course a must

In October 2019 alone, the Vice-Chancellor spent a total of £726.12 at The Wolseley and Fischer’s Restaurant in London, and The Ivy in Cambridge. All in all, he spent £1,352.28 on fancy restaurants over the last two academic years. His favourite spots to wine and dine in Cambridge seem to be Browns and The Ivy, the second of which he managed to visit five times before the pandemic hit.

We’re convinced that if he ditched The Ivy and went to Spoons, he’d really start driving up that bill with some rounds of two for one pitchers. Are we thinking Toope’s more of a Woo woo, or a Godfather kind of guy?

For anyone unsure, this is NOT Stephen Toope (Credit: @NotStephenToope on Twitter)

A cheeky trip to China?

Considering the fact that Toope’s own email reminded us it’s been a year since the beginning of lockdown, we think he was cutting it pretty fine with a planned trip to China back in January 2020. We’re not sure if he managed to go, but if he didn’t, then the £215 spent on a visa was an unfortunate waste of the funds he could’ve used to reimburse us the rent we lost in Lent term : (

I really didn’t want reminding but cheers Toope (Credit: Author’s own screenshot)

Although, if you were ever wanting to catch Stephen Toope in mid-air, our investigation tells us he flies with Ryanair, having most recently travelled with the company in November 2019 for the low low price of £40, which is smart and sensible spending if we’ve ever seen it.

Our Vice-Chancellor really seems to have caught the travel bug, billing costs for taxis, accommodation and food in Spain, Scotland, New York, Sweden, Switzerland, Hong Kong, India, and of course, his homeland Canada, all in the last two academic years.

The bulk of his spending is on hotel costs, paying £3,120.49 during one trip to India for three separate hotels.

Toope’s spending has dropped dramatically during the pandemic

Like all of us, Toope has had to take a break from eating out and going abroad thanks to a little thing called Covid. One of his last purchases before the first lockdown cost £14.99 at Snappy Snaps, so maybe he managed to get all his cool holiday photos developed for his fairy light wall?

The closest thing to a lads on tour pic we are yet to see from the Vice-Chancellor (Credit: Camfess via Facebook)

Prior to lockdown hitting on 23rd March 2020, Toope’s expenses were £5,929.78, from the start of the 2019/20 academic year. Between then and the end of February this year, he’s only spent £212.45.

Most of that comes from staying at London hotels and another beloved trip to The Ivy just before the start of Michaelmas term. But he’s also given a whopping 79p every month to Apple for what we can only assume are storage costs. This man really must have a lot of holiday pictures!

In total, the Vice-Chancellor’s expenditure since October 2019 amounts to £6,142.23. In comparison to Sheffield’s exec staff who spent £208k in two years back in 2018, we’re going to call that modest. 

The University Press Office was contacted for comment 

Feature image credit: CollegeHumor on Youtube and Wikimedia Commons via Creative Commons Licence

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