On February 8th, Durham Young Greens invite you to celebrate Vice Chancellor’s Day, the day on which the Vice Chancellor, Professor Stuart Corbridge, has already earned more than the average-paid university staff member will earn in the entire year. After gathering at Palace Green at 4pm, protestors will march to the Palatine Centre with presents and party poppers, and will be fully adorned in party gear in order to congratulate the Vice Chancellor on his remarkable pay cheque.
Whereas the Vice Chancellor currently earns an immense £287,000 per annum, the annual salaries for academic and non-academic staff are comparatively a mere £48,278 and £29,008 respectively. This huge pay gap is made even worse by the increase in staff pay freezes, the persistence of exploitative zero-hours contracts and increasing national inequality. Moreover, this unjustifiable salary is earned in the face of rising tuition fees and skyrocketing living costs for students.
“While students are falling deeper and deeper into debt, struggling to buy textbooks and pay their rent; while both academic and non-academic staff alike are struggling to get by, often on zero-hours contracts and salaries below the living wage, scared to speak out for fear of losing their position, the VC sits in his ivory tower and pretends to us all that he’s worth £287,000 a year.” Sarah Thin, president of the Durham Young Greens, encourages all students to take part in the march: “The sheer arrogance of it is astounding, and goes against basic principles of equality and fairness. This is our University and we should be able to say that we’re proud to study here, but how can anyone be proud of an institution that values prestige so much and most of its employees so little? This is our chance to make that message heard.”
Protestors will be collecting signatures for a petition to send to the University urging them to pay all staff a living wage and to sign up to a 1:10 pay ratio between the lowest and highest-paid in the university.
The protest is supported by numerous student societies, including Durham University People and Planet Society, Durham Left Activists, Durham for Accessible Education, Durham University Labour Club, Durham Students for University Reform and Durham University Campaign for the Living Wage – and also by Unite the Union Community branch.
Everyone is encouraged to take part, whether you are a student, a member of staff, or simply curious.
To find out more information, check out the Facebook event: “Vice Chancellor’s Day celebration”.