A UNIVERSITY has admitted its vice-chancellor did sit on a committee which awarded him a pay rise.

While vice-chancellor Sir Christopher Snowden did not vote on his own pay, the admission represents a backtrack on the University of Southampton’s original stance.

Sally Hunt, University and College Union general secretary, said: “We found that over two-thirds of vice-chancellors sat on the committee that sets their pay.

“While most people would agree this is wrong and looks suspect, it is currently the norm, which makes Southampton’s efforts to try and obscure the fact that their vice-chancellor was on the committee that sets his £434,000 package really strange.”

As previously reported, Sir Christopher’s pay package was revealed as being worth more than £430,000 in 2016/17, making him one of the most highly paid vice-chancellors in the country.

When contacted by the Daily Echo on Friday, the university said that the vice-chancellor’s salary was set and regularly reviewed by the university’s independently-chaired remuneration committee.

However, in a statement yesterday the university admitted that it had made a mistake saying it was an “error on their part”.

It admitted Sir Christopher was a member of the former senior salaries committee, which set the president and vice-chancellor’s salary up until the start of the academic year.

At the start of the 2017-18 academic year, the university then changed its senior salaries committee into a remuneration committee.

A university spokesperson added that the vice-chancellor was a member of the senior salaries committee in order to contribute to discussions about pay for his “own direct reports and executive team” and was “not present at any point” during meetings for discussions and voting on his own pay. Now, he only attends meetings of the new remuneration committee by invitation.

The news comes just weeks after the university advertised for an executive chauffeur while planning to axe up to 75 academic jobs as part of plans to merge eight faculties into five.

Union representatives also said that the university was only one of two across the country not to have responded to freedom of information requests over expenses claims for its senior staff.

But the university said it was “working with the union” on giving the information.