STUDENTS at a Hampshire university have voted overwhelmingly to slash their vice chancellor’s pay.

The vote at Southampton University saw thousands of students go to the polls in a row over Sir Christopher Snowden’s £433,000 salary – revealed just weeks after staff were told 75 jobs were set to go at the Highfield campus.

The result of the student referendum comes in the same week as higher education chiefs announced new guidelines which could be brought in to make universities justify “excessive pay”.

Now 90.6 per cent of students who voted in the poll at Southampton University said they believe that the vice chancellor’s pay should be cut, 92.4 per cent said they think job cuts to academic staff will be detrimental to the student experience and 85 per cent said they didn’t believe there has been “full and clear consultation” with students on staff restructuring.

A total of 2,335 out of a total of 23,000 student enrolled at the university voted which means the poll has reached quoracy and the university council now has to respond.

Student campaigner Ben Seifert told the Echo that students want “value for money”. He said: “It really shows that the students care about the staff and the quality of their education.

“They come to uni to learn - not to pay these fat cat salaries. If the university doesn’t listen to what the students are saying then I think we will want to take more radical action.”

A Students’ Union spokesperson said: “The entire sabbatical team will be meeting on Tuesday to determine how best to present these results to the university and agree on specific actions we expect them to take.

“Our president, Flora Noble, will be taking this to university council next Thursday."

A university spokesperson said: “We’ll continue to liaise with the Students’ Union and wider student community going forward. The university has engaged in a wide range of communications activities with the student community, especially over recent weeks, and will await the outcome of further meetings within the Students’ Union to see what specific actions they propose to take.”

A University and College Union spokesperson said the result of the students’ referendum was “not surprising". They added: “Students’ time at university is enhanced by high-quality teaching and the support they receive from staff. Vice chancellors may have benefitted from huge pay hikes in recent years while holding down staff pay, but students don’t tend to pick their course or university based on who the vice chancellor is.”

In a meeting with students before Christmas Sir Snowden told students he could earn “three times” his salary for the same job in Australia.

New guidelines which could be brought in this year would make universities justify “excessive” salaries - but critics say the code, drawn up by the Committee of University Chairs (CUC), is voluntary and the CUC is seen as being “too close” to vice chancellors.

Last year managers at Southampton University admitted Snowden did sit on the committee which awarded his pay, but said that he left the room when his pay was discussed.

Students go back to university today for the start of the exam period.