Thrifty by name, not by nature

**Vice-chancellor Nigel Thrift spent over £100,166 in travel expenses in the last three years, the _Boar_ can reveal.**

The expenses included trips to London, New York, Delhi, Brazil and Melbourne. In a Freedom of Information request to the University, the _Boar_ learnt that Professor Thrift was reimbursed for 17 trips across the globe, including almost £26,000 over the past year.

The trips range from accompanying ministerial trips to attending Warwick-related events. The University have argued that the expenses were a reasonable sum.

In an interview with the _Boar_, Prof. Thrift explained: “The figure may seem large, but I’m not sure it really is.

“Let me start with the scale of the issue. This is a university with a turnover currently of about £440 million, 5,000 members of staff and 23,000 students. It’s a very big institution, it’s not possible to run an institution like that without international travel. It’s just not possible.”

Head of communications, Peter Dunn, added: “Warwick has focused and is focused on being a globally connected University.”

These connections include recent partnerships such as the alliance with Monash University in Australia and a partnership with New York University and the Centre for Urban Science and Progress.

Prof. Thrift added: “One of the reasons why we’re trying to do this is to put in place a better student experience, because we think in the future, most students will routinely want an international experience as part of their degrees. So we have to solve the conundrum of how to actually do that.

“So this will also have, of course, direct student benefit, one way or the other.”

The scale of Warwick’s international partnerships and exploits makes comparisons with other universities difficult.

For instance, the University of Northampton’s cice-chancellor spent just over £800 in the months of June and July 2012, compared to Prof. Thrift’s £8,735.49, but does not boast the same international connections as Warwick.

However, the University of Leeds which also boasts several international connections, reimbursed their vice-chancellor for just under £42,000 in expenses over a period of three years. This included travel and other expenses.

Other trips by Prof. Thrift in the past three years included attending the American Council of Education meeting in Washington and speaking at the G8 University Summit in Chicago.

Prof. Thrift’s expenses can be compared with the highest paid UK vice-chancellor, Andrew Hamilton, whose £424,000 in salary includes benefits such as part of his total remuneration for travel expenses to return to the United States a certain number of times a year. Mr Hamilton is also given access to a driver for work transport only.

Prof. Thrift’s £274,000 salary last year did not include these travel reimbursements.

Postgraduate officer at the Students’ Union, Anna Chowcat, commented: “This, coupled with the money spent on his office suite and council chambers will be viewed as unnecessary expenditure by students, because it doesn’t relate directly to student experience.”

Maths third year, Rhys Davis thought the sum was a bit extravagant: “How’s he travelling? By helicopter?”

Third-year Law and Sociology student Lizzie Peters agreed, commenting the amount “Sounded like a lot for just three years worth”.


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