CCCU's Vice Chancellor, Rama Thirunamachandran

CCCU’s Vice Chancellor Handed a £20K Salary Increase In the Past Two Years

Christ Church’s vice chancellor got a £20,000 pay rise in just two years.

Professor Rama Thirunamachandran was paid £241,000 during the 14/15 academic year.

Last year, his pay rose to £260,000, despite CCCU dropping 13 places in the National League Table in that time.

Past 3 years: Vice Chancellor’s salary continues to rise while CCCU has declined in the league table year after year. Hitting its lowest in the last 10 years.

The increase has been criticised by the University and College Union (UCU) who believes that vice chancellors pay should be capped.

Mark Abel, Chair of UCU at Brighton said:

“The growing gap between the pay of Vice Chancellors and senior managers on the one hand, and that of their staff on the other, is a huge cause for concern.

“Very often these levels of pay have nothing to do with ‘performance’ and seem to be motivated by a desire for university bosses to match their counterparts in corporate businesses.”

The topic of the rising salaries of university vice chancellors hit the headlines recently this week.

A new regulatory body for higher education said that institutions who set salaries that are ‘out of kilter’ with their performance will be exposed.

As reported in The Guardian, Sir Michael Barber, Chairman of Office for students said:

“We have powers as the Office for Students to get into value for money – vice-chancellors’ pay, senior staff pay, is one key aspect of value for money. And people are interested in that.

“There are some vice-chancellors’ pay packets that look out of kilter with the performance of their institutions, their contribution. We will certainly bear down on in a variety of ways.”

Vice chancellor’s comment

At the event of Q&A with Professor Rama Thirunamachandran on October 31, 2017, Claisse Opulencia asked:

“A lot of people have justified your salary through performance related pay. But, CCCU has been dropping significantly in the league table. Hitting it’s lowest in 2016.

In the same year, you received a 7% increase in your salary. If we’re dropping in the league table, then what’s the rationale behind your pay?”

His response at the Q&A with the Students’ Union on October 31:

“My salary and the other 12 members of the senior team is not determined by me. It is determined by a committee of the governing body which is made up of 4 independent governors, totally independent from the university. In the committee setting salaries, they look at the performance.

“And league tables are one important measure of performance but there are other things as well.”

Professor Rama Thirunamachandran provided further comment on December 6:

He said:

“I was asked a question about my pay at a recent Q&A with the Students’ Union. It is an important issue and one we should not refrain from answering. I hope that my answer then, as now, will assure students that there is an open, transparent and most importantly an independent process in determining my salary.

“My salary, and those of my Senior Management Team, are determined against objectives set-out by a renumeration committee. The committee is made-up of four governors independent of the University and they report back to the Governing Body. This independent committee sets objectives against a series of measures with regards to the size and complexity of the University, not just against a single determinant such as league table positions.

“Last year my salary was uplifted by 1.1%, which is exactly the same as the national pay award decision, and therefore the same as my fellow colleagues working in the University.”

Professor Rama Thirunamachandran earns more than the Prime Minister

During the annual conference of Universities UK back in September, University Minister, Jo Johnson said: “Exceptional pay can only be justified by exceptional performance.”

He also threatened institutions that pay their vice chancellor more than £150,000 (equivalent to the Prime Minister’s emoluments) could face fines.

More than 100 students anonymously participated in a survey regarding the Vice Chancellor’s pay.

Student survey and comment

Journalism student, Claisse Opulencia, conducted a survey back in October where 100 students participated.

87% of CCCU students in the survey did not know who the Vice Chancellor is.

77% of CCCU students in the survey believed that the Vice Chancellor’s salary is far too high.

Comments retrieved from the survey:

1: “I don’t even know who the Vice Chancellor is. The Prime Minister may not be the most amazing individual but I believe her salary should be more.”

2: “It’s a tough job. He deserves a high salary.”

3: ” It’s too much money for one person. That kind of money could be spent on better facilities around the university.”

4: “Good for him!”

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Claisse Opulencia

Editor-in-Chief of Unified. Claisse is a third year multimedia journalism student at CCCU. Amnesty Media Award Finalist 2018, IRN Awards Runner-up 2018 and nominated for two SPA Awards 2018.

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