Michael Farthing, who led the university for nine years until August 2016, received the payment “in lieu of notice” on his departure, the university’s latest accounts show. Overall, he was paid £252,000 in the month of August 2016, of which £249,000 was salary and £3,000 employer pension contributions.
Commenting on the pay-out, a University of Sussex spokesman said that “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”.
An independent inquiry, published in January 2017, also criticised Sussex’s decision not to suspend a media studies lecturer after he was convicted of assaulting his student girlfriend in June 2016.
Last week it emerged that Sir Christopher Snowden, vice-chancellor of the University of Southampton, became one of the UK’s most highly paid higher education leaders in 2016-17, on a remuneration package totalling £433,000. This is in comparison with the £352,000 that he was paid the previous year for the 10 months that he was employed, and comes after the institution announced plans to axe 75 academic jobs.
In his final years in office, Professor Farthing attracted much criticism from staff and students as he presided over the outsourcing of hundreds of service staff and the suspension of five students who demonstrated against the changes.
The University of Sussex’s former vice-chancellor was given a £230,000 pay-off in his final month in office, Times Higher Education can reveal.
“Hefce has warned universities about these golden goodbyes so they cannot really avoid some kind of inquiry,” said Professor Shattock. “We now have three cases of payments made to vice-chancellors and if Hefce’s audit team will not start asking questions, I believe the National Audit Office will,” he added.