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Students eat accommodation hike so Vice-Chancellor can spend £26,000 on flights

Students eat accommodation hike so Vice-Chancellor can spend £26,000 on flights

Photo by Caribb | Flickr

In the same week InQuire ran the article, ‘University of Kent boost accommodation prices’, the Vice-Chancellor of UKC has come under scrutiny for spending £26,635 on flights in 2014/15.

The Vice-Chancellor, who took a £43,000 pay increase early last year, has been discovered as spending the ninth-highest amount on flights out of all UK university vice-chancellors, with 92% of her flights being in business or first class.

Whilst the University of Kent previously justified the pay increase as it was “what it takes” to attract the best, Professor Dame Julia Goodfellow’s salary was above the average salary of £260,290 for vice-chancellors.

Meanwhile, the University of Kent has hiked accommodation prices by an average of £216.29 for the academic year of 2016/17; Rutherford College saw a price surge of £764.67. Furthermore, the average UK maintenance loan is £4,040, but the rent of Parkwood flats will rise to a cost of £6,120.

On the subject, third year Politics and International Relations student, Ruby Lyle, said:

“It’s absolutely absurd that rents for campus accommodation are being increased for no discernible reason, and our own Vice-Chancellor wants to increase our already extortionate fees further under the premise of maintaining the quality of education at universities, while all this time she’s been happy to accept a £43,000 pay increase and somehow manage to spend over £26,000 on flights. I know the University of Kent has campuses in various locations in Europe, but how often can Dame Julia Goodfellow really be visiting these locations, or others in the name of the University, to justify this enormous cost? What is achieved on these visits that meeting on Skype cannot? I can’t help but think that a breakdown from the University of what was involved in this £26,000 and what it achieved would be of great interest to students in these expensive times.”

UCU regional official Michael Moran said:

“The time has finally come for a frank and open discussion about pay and transparency in higher education. The huge disparities in the levels of pay and pay rises at the top expose the arbitrary nature of senior pay in our universities. While some continue to enjoy inflation-busting pay hikes and all the trimmings of first class flights, staff pay continues to be held down.”

Despite the increased burden on students in recent months, with developments such as the dismantlement of student grants, and the increase in student accommodation fees, Dame Julia Goodfellow has stated that the Government should begin to consider “a mechanism for increasing the fee cap”. This argument for the increase in tuition fees came as the Vice-Chancellor spoke of the impact of an increase of 30,000 student expected to attend university in 2016/17, and the potential for subsequent less spending on individual students by universities.

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