It has been revealed that the university has splashed out, extravagantly, £1.2 million on a luxurious new property for Strathclyde’s principal, Sir Jim Macdonald.
Despite already having access to a University apartment which is located on the Jordanhill campus, the university has decided to replace MacDonald’s current apartment with a five-floor townhouse in Park Circus- a particularly affluent part of the city.
It doesn’t stop here, either. On top of the £1.2 million spent on purchasing the property, there will be an estimated £300,000 spent on refurbishing the interior of the townhouse.
The new property has a variety of plush features. It boasts private gardens, cabling for home cinema, underfloor heating and a pantry.
The Jordanhill property was allegedly “no longer suitable” according to Court minutes. Yet there have been questions raised on the necessity of this undeniable upgrade in the principal’s property.
This is not the first time Macdonald has come under scrutiny in recent months. Of course controversy sparked as the Strathclyde principal experienced a 5% pay rise in 2012-2013, increasing his annual earnings to approximately £262,500. Macdonald is now officially the highest paid university principle in Scotland.
All the while hundreds of Strathclyde University staff have experienced cuts to their pay. According to Mary Senior, Scotland’s University College Union (UCU) official, “staff in our universities have seen their pay fall by 13% over the past five years”. This has since led to a series of ongoing strikes.
Senior also commented on the “hypocrisy” of the university management, as well as the insensitivity displayed. At the same time as struggling for fair pay and a better quality of life, higher education workers see the wealth of those at the top continue to increase. The message that can be interpreted here is that Strathclyde would rather see their principal live in the lap of luxury than provide their staff with a better quality of life. This is only one example that demonstrates the widening gap of economic inequality taking place today in austerity Britain. Indeed it is one that hits close to home.