‘Fat Cat’ Vice-Chancellor paid thousands – but fees WILL go up

Salary blamed on ‘transitional arrangement’

Durham spent a shocking £593, 000 on the Vice Chancellor’s role. More than double spent in 2013-14.

It means we bucked the trend of national unis by massively increasing spending on the Vice-Chancellor role. The rise will come as a shock to students who are protesting steep increases in living-in fees.

Professor Chris Higgins was Vice-Chancellor of the Uni from 2007 until 2014. A controversial figure, he was nicknamed “Shabby” on account of apparently only ever appearing in the same suit and tie.

When he stepped down he took on a role of “Pro Vice-Chancellor”, with Ray Hudson replacing him as an interim VC.


Chris on his yacht…according to an artist

It now appears that Chris took a Vice-Chancellor’s wage, plus bonuses, while the interim head took the reins of office. This was a “transitional arrangement” – but last year VCs across the UK were labelled “Fat Cats” for their salaries.

Professor Hudson was paid £243,000 that year for his executive role, in a period when Durham spent £170k on art alone.

Despite these splurges, students, who are expected to live in, will be asked to pay £7000 next year, irrespective of en-suite, size or quality of room.

Esther Green, the DSU Community Officer said in a statement to The Tab: “This particular transitional arrangement was a complex remuneration and resource issue dealt with by the University. The Union had no involvement in the decision making process.

“This speaks to the much wider issue of the disparity between the highest and lowest paid University staff. We are extremely concerned about the pay gap between senior managers and cleaners and catering workers for example. We believe the current wage disparity within the University is unjustifiably high.

“We will continue to lobby the University to encourage them to pay all their full-time workers, either directly employed or sub-contracted, a Living Wage.”

"Funeral" for affordable accommodation

“Funeral” for affordable accommodation

In typical corporate non-speak Wendy Piatt, director general of the Russell Group, spoke out. She said: “The remuneration committees which decide these salaries are acutely aware that to continue the global success of these institutions, world-class leadership and academic talent is required, particularly through uncertain times.”

Despite claiming these VCs have “world-class leadership,” Chris Higgins was unable to lead his own Senate. He took early retirement following a Senate vote over reducing his own powers.