As university Vice-Chancellor salaries are rising dramatically Labour has announced policies to tackle extortionate Vice-Chancellor pay and emergency loans for failing universities.
Reports have been revealed that university Vice-Chancellors are sitting in the meetings which decide their own salary while receiving huge pay rises. One of the main vice chancellors guilty of this is Dominic Shellard, the ex-Vice Chancellor of De Montfort University. In 2018, he had a 22.4% pay rise, and evidence has now been found as to why. In March 2017, he became a shareholder in the company Metamorph, of which Anthony Stockdale is a director. This same Stockdale was present at the meeting which decided Shellard’s salary. Since then, they both have stepped down from their posts, but it has revealed a lot about the functioning of finances at the university.
Matt Waddup, the head of policy at the University and College Union has said that there has become a need for “proper transparency of key decisions being taken at the top table of our universities”, including the decision of vice chancellor’s salary. This has become apparent with at least three universities being known to be on the brink of bankruptcy, and yet salaries are still dramatically rising. It highlights a need for university students and staff to know about how money is being spent in their institutions, and that is why Waddup has called for staff and student representatives.
On Saturday 16th February, Shadow Education Secretary from the Labour Party, Angela Rayner, said that her party plans to take a tougher stance on vice chancellors pay. She also announced that The Office for Students would give emergency loans to avoid any “disorderly failure” in universities. This would prevent disaster of those who become bankrupt and settle the situation for the moment. Rayner also attacked the Tories stance on this subject, however, saying that the “forces of competition run rampant at the expense of students, staff, and communities”, stating an obvious disenchantment with the Tories policy on this issue. But the Tories have argued back that Corbyn’s policies cannot be trusted, as any Labour policy imposed on this issue would only lead to less investment in Higher Education. Skidmore, speaking on behalf of the Tories, said that Corbyn’s plan would simultaneously “crash the economy” and also compromise the universities “world class quality”. And so the question of what is to be done over vice chancellor’s salaries and the running of finances in universities remains an unanswered question.