Thousands of pounds have been spent by the University on luxurious ‘gifts’ for donors, as well as other ‘excessive’ purchases for senior staff.
The University has splashed out on Michelin star restaurants, luxury hotel stays and even one £500 trip to a jewellers, an analysis of the credit card bills of senior staff by Nouse has revealed.
Over £20,000 has been spent on credit cards belonging to the Vice-Chancellor’s Department, in addition to tens of thousands of pounds of expenses over the same period.
The University have confirmed the expenses were claimed by several staff, and that many of the claims were gifts.
Among the claims featured on the ‘hospitality’ bill were hundreds of pounds on iTunes, and bills from Betty’s tea room also appeared on the list of purchases.
The credit card bill included a £100 meal at Loch Fyne restaurant and a £588.25 spend at the Murano Michelin star restaurant in London.
In New York, £474.90 was spent at luxury restaurant Patroon, described by Time Out magazine as place to enjoy “bigwig style”.
Kallum Taylor, YUSU President described the claims as “excessive, and worryingly contradictory”, adding that he was “uncomfortable” with the revelations given the current economic climate.
These claims are on top of the £32,888 of expenses the VC claimed last year, which the University refused to break down.
However, Nouse was able to reveal earlier in the year that the University was spending money on gardeners, paintings, iPads, and luxury travel. A University spokesperson said: “The credit card bills relate to the Vice-Chancellor’s department and so include the expenses not only of the VC but also seven other senior academic managers, making average annual expenses for each at around a modest £1,250.
The records also include such items as a £216 charge from West One Cars London, a cab company that offer an ‘executive service’ which provides ‘luxury travel in one of our Mercedes E-Class or S-Class vehicles.’ There was also a £600 transaction to Europcar in York.
The total spent on lavish London hotels contradicts the University’s justification earlier in the year for providing the VC with a Mercedes.
Taylor said: “As a registered charity, I find the University’s expenses excessive, and worryingly contradictory: featuring ‘gifts’ for ‘donors’ and overnight stays in London for those despite the expensive chauffeurs to bring them home after late meetings in other cities.
“Everyone else seems to be tightening their belts, so even when it’s slightly uncomfortable or impractical, the University should really consider how this looks.”
After senior staff perks were revealed by Nouse last term, the University commented: “The E-Class Mercedes (there is only one) is used to transport VIP visitors the Vice-Chancellor. In the case of the Vice-Chancellor, the car is frequently used to transport him home from evening meetings in London and other locations outside York, thus avoiding the cost of an overnight hotel stay. The only other vehicles operated by the University are service vehicles used by Estates & Campus Services, and Commercial Services.”
But the spending went beyond charges in the UK, as senior staff enjoyed luxuries worldwide. In total thousands was spent on hotels in London and several thousand in hotels in York, despite the VC being provided with a house in the city.