Outraged staff have heavily criticised the high pay of university chiefs in Wales, while new research shows some across the UK are paid far more than their peers in the public sector, The Eye can reveal.
“These levels of pay for those in charge of us are extraordinary”, one told us.
“They are just as bad as the figures in England“.
Another in a different Welsh university said: “The salary of the VC (Vice-Chancellor) is unbelievable – everyone is talking about it“.
Research just published in a UK newspaper showed how the salaries of Vice-Chancellors (VCs) at leading universities are well above those of the Chief Executives of NHS hospital trusts and local authorities in major cities in England.
The £185,000 pay of the Chief Executive of Birmingham City Council – the largest local authority in Europe, with gross annual expenditure of £3bn – was less than half that of the University of Birmingham VC, Sir David Eastwood, on £378,000.
Controversy has also focused on Glynis Breakwell’s VC salary at Bath university, which at £434,000 is £284,000 more than the local council Chief Executive’s pay.
But Welsh universities too have been in the headlines for the high pay and perks of their VCs.
In January The Eye reported the deep discontent of academic staff at Swansea University, which employed a fraudster jailed in America exposed by us, and who questioned a table showing the man in charge offered ‘good value’ with a salary of £251,000 a year.
Yet officials there did not like answering questions about fraudster Chan.
In The Sunday Times Good University Guide, the university was ninth for ‘low’ VC pay while coming in 36th in their table overall.
One angry staff member there told us at the time: “These figures are ridiculous.
“How can anyone defend giving him (Richard Davies, VC of Swansea University) a salary like he gets, when we have employed a crook?”.
We revealed how Swansea University employed Stephen Chan on a contract at the university’s contentious School of Management.
Yet routine checks would have shown that Chan had been imprisoned by a court in Boston for four years and three months, and ordered to pay more than $12,500,000 in compensation.
John Hughes, the VC of Bangor University, which is one of the smallest universities in the UK, was living in a grace-and-favour country house with thousands of pounds worth of new furnishings.
His perk came on top of a £245,000 salary.
The property, on the banks of the Cadnant River, cost £475,000 in 2010 and had £267,000 of renovations with £16,000 of Laura Ashley furnishings that included £700 cushions.
The house offered a picturesque garden in an acre of land with a conservatory and library.
A spokesman for Bangor said: “After being purchased for £475,000, (the house) was independently valued at £750,000 in 2011 and, like other assets owned by the university, it could be sold in the future if the university wishes.”
The high salary of Elizabeth Treasure VC of Aberystwyth University has also come under scrutiny.
Furthermore, when she was at Cardiff University she was also dogged by controversy over expensive furnishings revealed by The Eye.
In May 2015 we showed how the cost for furnishing and equipping her room was more than £3,220 greater than the money spent on the office of her superior, the VC, Colin Riordan.
But Professor Riordan is no stranger to controversy either.
In January of that year he made news after racking up £1,010.98 on taxis, hotels, rail tickets and hospitality between June 2013 and May 2014.
Professor Riordan, who in 2014 was paid more than £250,000, was also reimbursed £266.50 for a two-night stay in London, as well as £109 for a single night.
Figures like these mean the growing controversy about VC pay is likely to continue.