Facing criticism for his £365,000 per year salary, Cambridge’s new Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen Toope has claimed it is crucial he out-earns his Oxford counterpart Louise Richardson.
He said: “The Oxbridge rivalry is centuries old and I’m fully committed to the team spirit. Boat races and rugby matches are important but what’s more important is that I’m paid more than Oxford’s Vice-Chancellor, who earns a meagre £350,000.”
In one of his first policies, Toope has instituted a daily ceremony at Senate House where he will formally receive his £1000-per-day salary. In a photo album uploaded to Cambridge University’s official Facebook page entitled “Matricu-CA$H”, Toope can be seen showering himself in fifty-pound notes, accompanied by a marching band and riding an elephant. He said: “Not only are we beating Oxford but we’re doing so with style. Just imagine the look on Louise Richardson’s face when she sees this.
“The ceremony itself costs £700 a day so hopefully people agree it’s important I earn enough to warrant such an expenditure.”
Toope has also been quick to emphasise the importance of his job for the university. “Much of my work is fundraising”, he said, “and involves me going around the world, meeting donors and working to ensure there’s even more money available for my salary. I even have a JustGiving page which is being run in collaboration with other important funding drives such as ‘Buy the UL more books’, ‘Trinity needs a new roof garden’ and ‘The Cambridge Union’”.
When asked to clarify specifics of the job, Toope said: “Everyone has a role in this university – academics teach, students learn and I vice-chancel. If that involves waking up at midday, riding the gravy train into work, eating caviar for lunch and then heading back to my palatial suite then so be it.”
Despite heavy criticism, some have been quick to defend the vice-chancellor. The Royal Family have released a statement urging the public to “factor in how much Toope no doubt contributes to tourism”, whilst the footballer Neymar Jr, who earns over £3000 an hour, said: “People don’t realise how much pressure is associated with being obscenely overpaid.” Meanwhile, head of the Land Economy faculty, Marcus Atherton, said: “I’m concerned about the growing scrutiny about who does what and why in Cambridge.
“Every role is important in the university, regardless of how pointless it appears to everyone else.”