It’s likely that most people were annoyed by the news that our Vice Chancellor received a 9% pay rise in 2012-13. Although the University claims he deserves such a rise for what they see as “significant improvements” made at the University, one must take issue with the idea that giving the V.C. a pay rise of £18,000 – more than our full-time union officers earn in a year – is the best use of students’ money in a time of austerity.
The pay given to senior management at UEA often runs into hundreds of thousands of pounds, with the V.C. himself paid £226,000 a year. Some might say that management deserves these payoffs for managing and presiding over UEA’s bureaucracy at a time when UEA came first in the TES student experience rankings and is winning accolades. But we are frequently told that money is limited, and when we have seen schools close, courses end at UEA London and University management decline to increase the annual grant it gives to the Student Union, it does not look as if anyone other than senior management is sharing in the alleged good fortune. And, when so many of the services we enjoy as students – shops, bars, advice centres, societies and sports clubs – are not run by the university but are instead run by the Student Union, one must question the idea that it is UEA management who should be rewarded for improvements in student satisfaction. Surely students should see some of their own money benefit them, not those who are already earning more than enough money?
Arguably, our money could be better spent on giving low-paid workers and lecturers higher pay, properly funding the Union and keeping courses open – not by rewarding management staff who earn 14 times the wage of the lowest paid campus worker.