Live coverage from the Redbrick News team of the 2017 Guild Elections DebateWritten by Grace Duncan, John Wimperis & Megan Stanley on 24th February 2017
EXCLUSIVE: Vice Chancellor House Refurbishment Cost at least £282,000
The University of Birmingham has spent at least £282,000 refurbishing Vice-Chancellor Professor David Eastwood’s rent-free home over the last three years, according to The Birmingham Post
Details of the expensive refurbishments come just a matter of months after Prof. Eastwood was listed as one of the highest paid Vice-Chancellors in the country, with his annual salary rising by 11 percent in 2010 to £392,000.
However, the University has defended their expenditure by stating that the property is actually a shared facility used by the Vice-Chancellor for University business, including ‘hosting meetings, university functions and provides overnight accommodation for the University’s guests’, according to a University spokesperson. It has also been stated that the refurbishment of areas that are solely attributable to Professor Eastwood amount to just £15,378.30 of the £282,760.86 that has been spent over the last three years.
Upon speaking to the Birmingham Post, a University spokesperson said ‘It is worth noting that Professor David Eastwood is the highly experienced head of a complex and successful organisation with a global reach. His remuneration needs to match his challenging and wide-ranging responsibilities. It is also worth noting that Prof. Eastwood is a generous donor to the university’.
The University told Redbrick ‘The Birmingham Post did contain some significant inaccuracies...As a requirement of the performance of his office, the Vice-Chancellor occupies University-owned premises at the University of Birmingham.’ They added that the premises are: ‘owned by the University so we are responsible for its upkeep and maintenance. For this reason the University maintains the grounds and cleans the building.
Of the refurbishments, first year Archaeology and Anthropology student Michael McLoone said ‘I can understand why the University thought it was a worthwhile investment of funds, considering that the property is used to host university-based events and they would therefore want to make a positive impression on visitors. However, at a time when severe cuts are having to be made to the higher education system I do believe that it is outlandishly irresponsible of them’.