Students occupy Warwick over VC's pay rise
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A group of more than 20 Warwick students are occupying the university's council chamber in protest against the £42,000 pay rise of its vice-chancellor Nigel Thrift. The pay rise will entitle the vice-chancellor to a £316,000 pay packet next year, about 22 times greater than the salary of the lowest paid worker at the university. The group believes this pay rise exemplifies the marketisation of universities and characterises them as ‘profit-driven machines’. In a statement on their website the group said: “widening inequality within higher education is driven by marketization and privatization. “The widening gap in pay between senior managers and frontline staff, and the debt forced on students, means that the university now reproduces social inequalities rather than contesting them." The group’s initial aims are to get the chancellor to commit to the protection of the public university and relinquish what they see as an “unjustifiable pay increase.” They call for solidarity between students and universities against the coalition government and the cuts it is making on higher education in Britain. The occupation comes just months after an occupation at Sussex University over outsourcing of campus services. This led to the students being evicted as well as vandalism on the university’s Brighton campus. However a spokesperson for Warwick University said the university had not yet decided how it would respond to the occupation, but it was "keeping all options open". The university has also reminded the students that "there are innumerable opportunities to bring opinions and thoughts to democratic bodies".