Jo Johnson promises students that uni bosses pay will be ‘under control’

Universities Minister pledges regulations in the new year to stop excessive salaries

Universities Minister, Jo Johnson, has acknowledged the recent protests over the pay of university vice-chancellors, namely the University of Bath and Bath Spa as well as us here at Soton.

Johnson agreed that there is a problem, and that “greater restraint” is needed, however he believes universities are starting to understand the concerns of the public, academics, staff and students. In light of this, Johnson claims in the new year a “new regulatory framework” is to be published, and unis will have to prove to the Office for Students that they are “fit for governance”.

The minster also felt that, although these institutions are independent, a sense of “value for money” should still be felt. Aforementioned proof would mean providing very clear evidence of decision-making on vice-chancellor’s pay by the relevant independent committees.

Thanks to the new regulations universities will also have to further explain the pay gap between top earners like Snowden and other staff members. It is clear that the students paying to learn, and the tax payer helping to fund said learning are forgotten about here, whereas value for money should be paramount.

Johnson feels “concerned” that a majority of students are unhappy about what we’re getting for our money.

Southampton University had already come under fire from Johnson in the summer, when he stated “there is one institution on the south coast that has seen vice-chancellor pay rise from £227,000 in 2009-10 to £350,000 in 2015-16”. The university defended the pay package, by claiming that Snowden would be an excellent leader with great experience in business and that as a vice-chancellor he has a “great track record of delivering long-term exceptional results”.

However, last year Soton dropped to 21st place on the Times University Guide list of UK universities, in comparison with the previous year’s 16th place. So the question must be asked, is Snowden worth the money, if there is no sign of these exceptional results?