Former university boss received £230,000 pay off

University of Sussex (Photograph: N Chadwick/Creative Commons Licence) SUS-170117-154510001
University of Sussex (Photograph: N Chadwick/Creative Commons Licence) SUS-170117-154510001

The University of Sussex is the latest institution in the firing line for excessive senior pay in higher education.

Times Higher Education has revealed the university’s former vice-chancellor Michael Farthing was given a £230,000 pay-off in his final month in office.

Mr Farthing, who left in August 2016, received the payment “in lieu of notice”, according to the university’s latest accounts.

Times Higher Education says overall, he was paid £252,000 in the month of August 2016, of which £249,000 was salary and £3,000 employer pension contributions.

The University and College Union (UCU) general secretary Sally Hunt said, ‘In any other week a quarter of a million pounds payout would be huge news, but we have already seen one almost twice as big this week.

“With further excessive pay revelations likely to follow, it is time universities stopped simply trying to defend the system and accept there must be radical change.

“Vice-chancellors must be removed from the committees setting their pay and signing off their perks.

“They must publish full minutes of those meetings and staff and students must be given a seat at those tables to properly scrutinise these deals.”

But the university has defended the pay off to Mr Farthing.

A spokesperson said, “The university’s approach to senior staff remuneration continues to be open and transparent, and we take our governance responsibilities and sector compliance requirements very seriously.

“In the case of our former vice-chancellor, we met our contractual obligations to him and this has been clearly published in our annual financial accounts.”