International News in Brief

 
 

UK University vice-chancellors take pay rise

A recent study by the Guardian on the income of vice-chancellors of various UK universities has revealed that leaders were awarded a £9,700 increase last year, raising their average annual pay and benefits package to above £330,000.

The analysis has called for prompt action to be taken by Prime Minister David Cameron, to extend the boundaries of the clampdown on executive pay to include universities. The examination of the universities’ financial records from 2010-2011 show that vice-chancellors of Oxford, Cambridge, Leeds, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Southampton, Bristol and Nottingham were all given an increase in salary, despite the pinch on many university budgets.

The annual reports also show that while vice-chancellors were obtaining income increases, university budgets were being cut, with 2010-11 seeing more than £215m cut from reaching budgets and £142m being slashed from capital projects such as new buildings and extensions.

All thirteen of the universities belong to the Russell group, a group of twenty research-intensive institutions across the UK. Among the thirteen, the highest earning was Oxford University’s Professor Andrew Hamilton, who earned £424,000, of which £53,000 went to pension contributions.

Most universities have remuneration committees that are responsible for creating pay packets for university employees, which do not include employees or student representation.

Georgetown University student business ban

The Student Association Senate in Georgetown University voted in favour of a motion put forward by the Student Life Committee to investigate the ban of student businesses on campus by the University.

The current policy the University has in places state that students living on campus may not be involved in commercial or private business in their current residence, nor may they use their telephone line, internet connection, or address for such purposes.

Awareness of the ban was brought to a head when a group of four students at the University, trading as ‘The Buyback Brothers’, created a book buyback scheme during final exams early last year. ‘The Buyback Brothers’ stated that following a report from a University official, officers from the Department of Public Safety forced them to leave their on-campus accommodation.

Senate speaker, Adam Talbot, stated that the ban was enforced largely against those who compete with auxiliary services run by the university. “‘The Buyback Brothers’ was competing with the bookstore. If you look at a lot of student-run businesses, in some sense, they are completely non-cannibalistic with other auxiliary business, and they operate just fine.”

The Student Life Committee is calling on University Administration to create a structure to register and operate student businesses on campus.

Californian State predicated to borrow up to $200m from University of California

The State of California is expected to borrow up to $200m from the University of California following a cash-flow crisis.

In the last decade the State of California’s budget has been subject to consistent cuts. This has led the State to look to the University to relieve the cash-flow shortfall due to the University’s high credit rating. The State Controller, John Chiang, attributed the cash-flow crisis to inadequate tax revenue from 2011, in a letter to the Senate on January 31st of this year.

According to the State Controller’s Office spokesman, Jacob Roper, in order to regulate this issue, University of California and California State University will borrow up to $200m and $250m respectively and loan this to the State.

This loan is expected to be short-term, beginning on March 2nd and being repaid by April with an influx of tax revenue. Roper stated he believed the plan was a “tentative” one created by the Department of Finance, the Treasurer and the Controller’s Office.

This is not the first instance of the state availing of the University’s high credit rating. In 2009, UC spokesman Steve Montiel revealed that the University had lent money to the State, which was also borrowed from outside sources for campus-related construction projects.

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