The severance payment to Christina Slade by Bath Spa University is thought to be the highest made to any UK vice-chancellor
One of the country’s smallest universities paid its vice chancellor £808,000 in her final year in the job due to a record-breaking ‘golden goodbye’.
The severance payment to Christina Slade by Bath Spa University is thought to be the highest made to any UK vice-chancellor – and came following a catalogue of problems at the university.
The latest financial statements show Professor Slade received £429,000 for ‘compensation for loss of office’ in addition to her salary of £250,000 in 2016-17.
She also got pension contributions of £89,000, a housing allowance of £20,000 and other benefits worth £20,000 – taking the total for the year to £808,000.
The university would not reveal why Professor Slade left her job and why she had received such a huge pay-out.
They simply said the money had been handed over following ‘legal advice’ which said it ‘reflected her contractual and statutory entitlements’.
Details of the deal emerged after Dame Glynis Breakwell announced her retirement from the helm of nearby Bath University amid a scandal over her £468,000 pay.
She was the highest-paid vice- chancellor in the country – although her salary for this year is now dwarfed by the total amount paid to Professor Slade.
Lord Adonis, former Labour education minister who has spearheaded a campaign to remove Dame Glynis, said of the latest revelation: ‘Every day brings a new university vice-chancellor pay scandal.
‘There should now be an independent inquiry into top university pay and a cap of no more than £200,000 on all university administrator salaries.’
Professor Slade’s ‘loss of office’ payoff was branded a ‘golden goodbye’ by Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union.
The latest financial statements show Professor Slade received £429,000 for ‘compensation for loss of office’ in addition to her salary of £250,000 in 2016-17, from Bath University
She urged university spending watchdog Hefce to launch an urgent investigation into why the money was paid.
‘We are seeing what happens when decisions are taken in secret without proper checks and balances. This simply cannot be allowed to continue,’ she said.
‘We need an urgent overhaul of how senior pay and perks are determined, and how our universities are governed.
‘Clearly, when it comes to senior pay and perks in our universities, many vice-chancellors and senior staff look like they are living on a different planet.
‘Defending their own massive rises while pleading poverty when it comes to staff pay and pensions only makes them look out of touch and greedy.’
Professor Slade, 64, an Australian specialist in media theory, had led Bath Spa since September 2012 and announced she was stepping down in the summer of this year.
We need an urgent overhaul of how senior pay and perks are determined
Professor Nick Foskett, a former vice chancellor at Keele who now runs a consultancy, is currently filling in as interim vice chancellor.
From January 22 next year, Professor Susan Rigby will fill the position permanently, having been recruited from the University of Lincoln, where she is deputy vice-chancellor.
Professor Slade’s departure comes after a string of problems at Bath Spa, with the university’s latest financial statements recording a number of ‘challenges’ in 2016-17.
In September 2017, its international student numbers dropped by 30 per cent and overall domestic and EU intake dipped to 2,100.
In addition, subsidiary companies – Bath Spa U and Bath Spa Global – racked up significant losses, the accounts note.
Figures available on Companies House show Bath Spa Global – an international pathway college venture set up in 2014 in partnership with US firm Shorelight Education – has lost about £1.4million in the three years to July 2016, while its parent company Bath Spa U has lost about £736,000 over the same period.
Bath Spa University has only 7,300 students – less than a quarter of the 39,700 at Manchester and 33,221 at Leeds.
It is ranked 90th of 129 in the Complete University Guide league table and was given the middle award of ‘silver’ in the Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework this year.
A Bath Spa spokesman said: ‘Professor Slade stood down as vice chancellor after more than five years of service.
‘Relevant Hefce guidance was taken into account and legal advice, based on this guidance, obtained.
‘The vice-chancellor’s salary is determined by the university’s remuneration committee.’
Vice-chancellor on £468k faces revolt as her own professors tell her to quit
Britain’s highest-paid university chief faced a revolt last night as scores of professors called for her quit immediately.
Bath University vice-chancellor Dame Glynis Breakwell announced last week that she would step down in February 2019 – after a six-month ‘sabbatical’ on full pay.
The arrangement will see her pocket a £234,000 ‘golden goodbye’ even after she stops being vice-chancellor in August.
Bath University vice-chancellor Dame Glynis Breakwell announced last week that she would step down in February 2019 – after a six-month ‘sabbatical’ on full pay
But more than 70 Bath academics have written to Dame Glynis – paid £468,000 a year – calling on her to leave now without a pay-off.
Yesterday, university spending watchdog HEFCE confirmed it was investigating ‘governance issues’ over the decision to award the 65-year-old such a generous retirement package, which includes writing off a £31,489 car loan.
She has denied being forced out of her job following a scandal which saw her pay rise by £18,00 this year as students and ordinary staff struggle to make ends meet.
The letter from Bath’s academic community says they are ‘very concerned at the reputational crisis that has developed over recent months’ and urged her to step down immediately.
It said: ‘We question the use of public funds for the vice chancellor’s proposed ‘sabbatical’, which was awarded without reference to our standard sabbatical procedures, and risks continuing negative publicity.’
They also called for the resignation of the university council chairman Thomas Sheppard, who oversaw her pay deals.
Dame Glynis said her sabbatical had been awarded on the recommendation of the university’s remuneration committee, adding: ‘During the sabbatical, I will be engaged in research and publishing primarily in the fields of psychology.’
Mr Sheppard said the complaint to HEFCE over the sabbatical had ‘no substance whatsoever’ and he refuted all allegations.