Laurie Taylor column

February 15, 2002

From : The office of the vice-chancellor
To : All members of staff

Following last week's publication in The THES of a league table of vice-chancellors' pay, it has been brought to my attention that a number of libellous comments about my own salary are circulating within the university's email system.

Let me set the record straight. It is true that my present annual salary of £323,000 does represent an increase of 125.4 per cent over the figure for the previous year. This figure, however, can be profoundly misleading without any knowledge of the context in which it has been realised.

In the first place, it should be noted that part of the increase is a direct result of the decision taken by myself and the two members of senate who were able to attend a specially called emergency meeting on Christmas Eve 2000 that my salary should include an element of performance-related pay.

Subsequent analysis revealed that I had exceeded my set targets on all the agreed criteria. These included such diverse duties as attendance at overseas conferences on the future of higher education (an increase of 15 per cent) and lunches with senior members of Universities UK at the Athenaeum (a 20 per cent increase).

On the academic front, I also greatly exceeded the set target for reducing the size of the philosophy department, and was responsible for an unprecedented increase in the proportion of the university budget allocated to management functions.

Members of staff should also recognise that I made personal contributions from my salary to a number of essential university improvements. These included the wallpapering of my lounge in traditional materials, a Christmas gift to the university chauffeur and several therapeutic trips to the theatre with the bursar's ex-wife.

In the circumstances, I can only regard current email references to myself as "a pig at the trough" as evidence that the reputation of this university is being tarnished by what one can only call the "politics of envy".

The vice-chancellor (signed in his absence by Mrs Cumberbatch)

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