A university vice chancellor has accepted a £70,000 pay rise during a redundancy process in which 75 academics were fired.
Sir Christopher Snowden, of the University of Southampton, was accused of insulting staff and being out of touch after it emerged he had received £423,000 for the last academic year.
The university has been rated a third class bronze in the government’s new teaching league tables.
Sir Christopher received £352,000 between joining the university in October 2015 and July last year compared with his predecessor’s salary of £227,000 five years ago.
He was singled out by Jo Johnson, the universities minister, as an example of pay excess as he called on universities to set an example by showing “pay restraint”.
The University and College Union (UCU) called for changes to the way senior pay was decided.
Sally Hunt, the UCU general secretary, said: “Professor Snowden was already one of the best-paid vice-chancellors in the UK, on a salary that had been publicly questioned by the universities minister.
“To accept this kind of pay rise while saying he must axe 75 academic jobs because money is tight beggars belief.”
It emerged this week that Dame Glynis Breakwell, of Bath University, the highest paid vice-chancellor whose salary package was £468,000, will leave her post at the end of the summer term next year.
Despite an ongoing row over her pay, she accepted another above-inflation pay rise this year of £17,500.
Ms Hunt added: “It is almost as if vice-chancellors are engaged in some offensive game to see who can shock the most.”
Southampton University said Sir Christopher had been awarded a salary increment of 1.1 per cent in line with the higher education national pay award and had declined a similar increment for 2017-18.
Dr Gill Rider, chair of the University Council, said he was recruited because of his “breadth and depth of experience” and described him as an outstanding leader and one of the most experienced in the sector.