This summer after five years as Vice Chancellor of the University of Essex, Colin Riordan will sadly be leaving us. Colin successfully put Essex on the map – he oversaw the cuts to accommodation services, rent rises far above inflation and most importantly, successfully lobbied MPs to vote for £9,000 tuition fees back in December 2010. He even managed to raise fees at Essex to £9,000 after fooling the Students’ Union into thinking the fees would be raised to ‘only’ £8,000. All Essex students should give Colin an applause as he leaves our University for the services he gave.
The cuts to Education, higher fees and massive youth unemployment mean that unfortunately, we can’t collect together the money to afford Colin the leaving present he deserves.
Fortunately, Colin’s new employer, the University of Cardiff, has purchased a £675,000 home for him. Cardiff University boasted “[we] believe this asset will be a justified investment, helping support development and growth over the coming years. Cardiff’s competitors among the UK’s leading universities already have such properties for exactly this purpose.”
Despite the huge sums of money that are being removed from teaching budgets, from lecturers pensions and that students are being asked to pay in the form of higher fees, it is clear to all parties concerned that this is £675,000 well spent.
Rather than an isolated incident, Vice Chancellors are routinely given such ‘perks’ in order to draw their individual expertise, or are paid huge six-figure salaries for their employment. Malcolm Grant, Provost of University College London received salary and benefits of £376,190 whilst cleaners at the University were denied the Living wage.
It remains to be seen whether the University of Essex incoming Vice Chancellor, Professor Anthony Forster of Durham University, will be given a similar perk to mark his coming into our community.