Well, no, this isn’t about executive pay at all

Along with the biscuits came the interest-free car loan of £31,489 and the £45,000 pay rise for 2015-16, taking Breakwell’s annual salary to £451,000, followed by a £17,589 pay rise for the following year, in the process making her the highest-paid university vice-chancellor in the country. In a university that has become a market leader in zero-hours contacts and low pay for junior staff this too did not go down well. More sensitive souls might have blanched, but Breakwell has stuck it out, even voting against an attempt to open up the proceedings of the remuneration committee that had awarded her the pay rises, a committee on which she also sits.

This is about the nomenklatura making hay with the peoples’ money.

Frank Dobson in a council flat in central London. An ex-Foreign Secretary refusing to move out of the grace and favour in Calton Gardens (?? Anyway, the short arsed one with a beard). The Politburo members taking their pick of the ballerinas.

24 comments on “Well, no, this isn’t about executive pay at all

  1. It’s one of those despite/because errors, surely? The university’s profits have risen under her watch (and thus she deserves a huge raise) *because* she’s squeezing the wage bill, not despite. I’d hazard a guess that wages are the single largest cost for a university.

  2. Surely this is just the modus operandi of the Left/Common Purpose? Infest publicly funded institutions (and fake charities) to spread your message of hate and suck the state’s tit dry.

    What’s the problem here – is she not a Common Purpose puppet? Has she done something to annoy them?

  3. KIngston Polytechnic is aiming to save £700k by sacking cleaners, and running departments with 2 or 3 permanent staff. The malaise is everywhere.

  4. You can see the model that UK universities are following. America is well down that path. For instance:

    https://nypost.com/2017/11/26/how-these-nutty-adjuncts-are-slipping-into-local-colleges/

    The CUNY system has for years relied on an army of lower-cost adjuncts — currently 12,500 out of an overall teaching staff of about 20,000 — who are paid far less than permanent faculty and don’t have the same benefits. The adjuncts get about $3,500 per four-month course.

    Adjunct lecturers need no more than a bachelor’s degree, but anyone with the title of adjunct professor is required to have a Ph.D.

    By comparison, a full professor is someone with a permanent, full-time appointment, a Ph.D. and an annual salary up to $129,000. The university system, which enrolls 272,000 students, has just 7,500 full-time faculty members.

    I would like to say that this is outrageous but frankly British universities have exhausted my patience and their staff deserve everything they get.

    Although it does mean that real learning will have to take place somewhere else. As you would have to be mentally ill to work for those wages. In fact the only reason would be to bang the students but having seen some students recently I find it hard to believe any normal person would want to.

  5. Dave C,

    “She’s a social psychologist.

    Seems she’s very good at it.”

    I disagree. When you’re living well, far too well for your real market value, you do nothing to draw attention to yourself. And people get irrational about this stuff. People cared more about Peter Viggers’ £1600 duck house than the MPs who were spending far more by having second homes.

    See, i’d like to think people are outraged about someone making £450K for a safe state-tentacle job. That should be enough to incite riots. Instead, it’ll be the use of a house, probably worth about £15-20K per year that’s going to do it.

  6. ‘In a university that has become a market leader in zero-hours contacts and low pay for junior staff’

    So she has earned her raises.

  7. SMFS,

    “Although it does mean that real learning will have to take place somewhere else.”

    And it is. Never forget: universities were founded as a way to get knowledge because producing books was really expensive. We then had them as places to get access to really expensive equipment like computers and film cameras.

    Every film director is saying don’t bother with film school. Why? Because you can make a film on an iPhone. You can buy courses by people like David Mamet, Werner Herzog, Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard and Aaron Sorkin for £100.

    If you must go physical, you can have a masterclass weekend with actual published authors for £500, including accomodation. How’s that compare with the per-day cost of university? And are you being taught by people who’ve been a success, or academics who never left?

    I still think for things where “testing” really matters (hard science, law, medicine, engineering), university has a place.

  8. Bloke on M4,
    Arguably, at university you learn as much from your peers as from your lecturers and tutors. By all means don’t bother with film school; but then where will you find half a dozen like-minded ideas off whom to bounce film-making ideas?

  9. Oops, half a dozen like-minded individuals. Though I dare say the internet could help in finding them these days.

  10. Andrew M,

    Film festivals, YouTube, meetups, various forums. For decades you’ve been able to go to places like Sundance with a bit of film, not even a completed thing and show it to will known directors for feedback. Today, you can put something on YouTube and privately invite people to view it. I’m certain there’s filmmaking stuff on meetup.

    Historically people met to do this stuff at film school because there was nothing outside. But we don’t have bands getting together at uni. You maybe spotted a talented drummer in another band and pinched him, or put an ad in a guitar shop. One way or another Led Zep and Duran Duran collaborated without it.

  11. I agree that Led Zepp and Duran Duran might properly be lumped together in the same sentence, where the thrust of that sentence is in one direction only.

  12. I assume Fatcher made that previous editor of the Guardian buy a £30,000 grand piano. She had amazing influence.

  13. The emergence of the New Boss Class in the universities over the last quarter century is an unpleasant spectacle. Hey, ho: Dissolution of the Monasteries.

  14. Bloke on M4 said:
    “I still think for things where “testing” really matters (hard science, law, medicine, engineering), university has a place.”

    Increasingly not even them.

    The lawyers at least are abandoning the need for university. It hasn’t had much publicity yet, but they’re moving to the accountants’ model where you can train any where or how you like (university, college, from books, online, on the job, whatever) and just sit exams run by the professional body.

    Makes sense. As you say, the important thing is the testing; if you can do it, it doesn’t matter how you learned it.

    It’s going to break the universities’ stranglehold that the only way you could sit the test was to do (and pay for) the course first.

  15. Many in academia started pulling up the drawbridge to the ivory towers in the 1990s I reckon. I was a paying external library member at Bath – it wasn’t cheap – but cheaper than buying a couple of £100++ technical books a year. They shut down the external membership with no explanation or warning and also even revoked library access for retired staff as I understand it.

    The insularity and self regard of academics has been made fun of over the years – but in the last 10 years it’s got really out of hand (according to some insiders of my acquaintance)

    I’m guessing their cash cow is foreign (esp. Chinese students) and the divvying out of the consequent piles of loot overseen by a small bunch of seniors who scatter a few crumbs while they rake off the biggest shares hasn’t gone unnoticed and their greed and hauteur just serves to needle the galley slaves…

    British universities have exhausted my patience and their staff deserve everything they get.

    Damned right.

    Bath have a Public Health faculty that has been caught out several times indulging in policy based evidence making and campaigning / lobbying government while being paid by government.

  16. @tomo

    Hardly something specific to Bath I’m sure? The world-renowned London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has an MSc Public Health with a course director whose publication list goes-

    Privatising the NHS
    Gosling, J. (2013) | International Socialism Journal .

    ‘Somehow the Wheels on the Bus stayed on’ – Managing Change, Reformation and Revolution in Primary Care
    Gosling, J.;Wallace, Andrew; Osipovic, Dorota; Peckham, Stephen; Allen, Pauline; (2012) | Dilemmas for Human Services 2011: Papers from the 15th International Research Conference, 2011 .

    Community nursing in systems reform: the London polyclinic experience.
    Peckham, S. ; Wilson, P. ; Gosling, J. ; Osipovic, D. ; Wallace, A. ; (2011) | Br J Community Nurs .

    Practice Based Commissioning: Neo-Liberal Lion in Reformist Sheep’s Clothing
    Gosling, J. (2009) | Dilemmas for Human Services – Papers from the 12th International Research Conference, 2008 .

    Researching What Managers Do: The Practice Manager in English General Practice
    Gosling, J. (2004) | Dilemmas Facing the Public Sector: Issues for Professionals, Managers and Users

    Just try to guess the political viewpoint there.

  17. I heard an interesting factoid the other day – the University of Bath is so deluged with Freedom of Information requests that the cost of answering them all is more than would be saved by replacing Dame Glynis with someone cheaper

  18. MyBurningEars

    specific to Bath ?

    I doubt it !

    They’ve grabbed more cash than many though through leveraging their status though… Bath trumps Bournemouth or something like that.

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