I suppose, as somebody who has spent 45 years in universities, much of it in the UK, I should have something to say on the vexed topic of British Vice-Chancellors’ pay. I am conflicted. VCs these days run large organisations, and they have precious little training for the responsibility. You could compare them with other CEOs, but universities are strange beasts, neither private nor public, funded by the taxpayer but at arms’-length. I want the university, as a concept and as an institution, to be valued, and that includes financially; but of course there is the problem of The Gap – or rather, of The Gaps, between highly-paid managers and poorly-paid junior staff, and between all of the above and the students paying a fortune for the privilege of higher education. For the moment – and I shall return to this topic – I have only one thing to say to VCs, and it is: for God’s sake have some dignity and know when you are damaging your own institutions – and, more importantly, the very intellectual (dare I say that word?) concept of the university. If in doubt, read Heidegger.

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