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£475k-a-year university chief voted out over pay dispute

By David Cosgrove | Education | Published:

A controversial university vice-chancellor who grew up in the Black Country has been urged to step down immediately.

Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell has been told to step down

Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell is the UK's highest paid vice-chancellor and reportedly received £475,000 in salary and benefits from the University of Bath last year.

Amid a row about her pay, the organisation that oversees the university has voted for her immediate departure.

Dame Glynis, who is originally from West Bromwich, has said she would step down this summer – and then take a sabbatical on full pay until retiring next February.

However the university’s 'court', which has about 200 members, has voted that she should leave straight away.

At a meeting this week, it passed a motion expressing no confidence in Sandwell schoolgirl Dame Glynis, who is also the chair of the university's council and the remuneration committee.

It called for all to stand down immediately, as well as expressing that the council went beyond its powers by granting Dame Glynis a six-month sabbatical.

Dame Glynis's university-provided accommodation should be counted in her pay, it agreed.

A spokesman for the University of Bath said: "At its meeting, the Court of the University of Bath agreed standing orders as part of steps taken to implement recommendations made in the report by the Higher Education Funding Council for England into governance relating to remuneration.

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"A full and open discussion took place around the previous meeting of court in February (2017) and the HEFCE report and two motions were passed."

A motion calling for a 'visitor' as part of an institutional checks and balances system was agreed and will be implemented, the spokesman said.

"A motion relating to the HEFCE report was agreed and will be considered at the next meeting of council, the university's governing body," he added.

"The university's council has already accepted all the recommendations contained in the HEFCE report."

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Hundreds of students, accompanied by members of staff, marched at the university in November in protest at Dame Glynis' retirement terms.

Last year, HEFCA announced they were making inquiries into Dame Glynis's retirement terms, following a letter from Labour councillor Joe Rayment.

Thomas Sheppard, chair of the university's council, said at the time that he believed the complaint had 'no substance whatsoever'.

In a previous report, the watchdog severely criticised the university's handling of senior pay.

By the time of her retirement on August 31, Dame Glynis will have been in post for 17 years – a third of the university's lifetime.

Dame Glynis made £471,000 in 2016/17 including benefits, a Freedom of Information request has found.

The request also showed that a 1.7 per cent increase on her base salary had been approved by the remuneration committee – totalling an extra £4,510, the paper revealed.

Four MPs previously resigned from roles at the university in protest at her salary.

David Cosgrove

By David Cosgrove
Chief Reporter - @davidcosgrove_

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