Undeserving causes 1

April 29, 2010

There has been much comment, as expected, in light of the latest data on vice-chancellors' salaries ("It was fun while it lasted", 1 April). The widening salary differential between vice-chancellors and other staff over the past two decades has occurred despite the standing of major universities resting primarily on the reputation of their leading academics.

An implication of the escalation in vice-chancellors' salaries that has not received attention relates to alumni donations. Most UK universities are now concerned to raise funds from alumni, both via periodic donations and through bequests. For some, particularly those on modest incomes, the motivation to give to their alma mater may be reduced if its vice-chancellor receives disproportionate financial rewards.

While my wife and I were recently reviewing our bequests, it seemed less appropriate to gift funds now that vice-chancellors' salaries have become so inflated. Others may well take a similar view.

Paul Trayhurn, Emeritus professor, University of Liverpool Honorary professor, University of Buckingham.

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