The Union has proposed a vote concerning the staff cuts. But will it make a difference?
Will our voice be ignored?
Following the annoucement that the Vice Chancellor (Sir Christopher Snowden) is going to lead a staff re-structuring, with staff costs being cut by 7%, the group 'Southampton Students Against University Cuts' have launched a petition called ‘Cut Vice-Chancellor Pay Not Staff Jobs’.
Accounts show that got around that Snowden's salary rose to £424,000 compared to £352,000 in 2015-16. And many students are angered over the apparent hypocrisy of the staff cuts.
More information about the vote and how to vote can be found here.
The VC also took many questions from students regarding the staff cuts. If you wish to read more about the Q and A, you can do so here.
But, will this vote make a difference?
The answer simply is yes. Look to just last week when Dame Glynis Breakwell, the Vice Chancellor of Bath University, agreed to step down due to outrage regarding her £468,000 pay package. Yes, she did get an extra £230,000 once stepping down but she stepped down none the less.
Student outrage has also caused the Universities minister, Jo Johnson, to call for universities minister to call for "restraint" when designating VC's salaries.
He told BBC's Radio 4 programme earlier this week:
“I will be repeating my call for restraint. I don’t want to see a continuation of the spiralling pay we are seeing at institutions.”
He also said that the newly founded office for students will ensure greater accountabillity in how much VC's are paid.
Our local MP Alan Whitehead has also called to support the vote, saying:
"I don’t think it is appropriate, particularly when we are in a period of cuts and retrenchment in the higher education system, for any vice-chancellor to be paid more than £400,000pa. I think there is too much inequality between those at the top and those who are perhaps newer to their careers starting work with low paid and insecure contracts.
I also worry that the cuts at Southampton University are being implemented without any consultation with students or staff and would urge those in charge to listen to the concerns currently being raised."
If we express our anger loudly then people will hear, and if as many people as possible vote in the petition then the vote will be more effective. And if you think that the VC's wage shouldn't be cut then make sure your voice is heard too.
The deadline for the vote is 13:00 on Friday the 12th of January so please do go vote!