Christ Church University ex-vice chancellor Robin Baker blew thousands on business class flights, hotels and flowers
A university vice-chancellor forced to resign from his £200,000
post blew thousands on business class flights, luxury hotels and
Prof Robin Baker left his job on October 22 last year, amid talk
of relationships with women at the university.
The institution has close links with the Church of England and
has the Archbishop of Canterbury as its chancellor.
But the 59-year-old, who earned £203,000 a year as the
university's principal officer, ran up £15,000 on credit card
spending, it's been revealed.
As his students struggled to pay thousands of pounds in tuition
fees, Prof Baker paid for business class flights around the world,
dinners in some of Canterbury’s finest restaurants, luxury hotels
and even flowers.
He even whipped out his corporate credit card to pay for
shopping from Waitrose, refreshments from sandwich shops, such as
Pret a Manger and Upper Crust and hundreds of pounds on opera
Canterbury Christ Church
vice-chancellor Robin Baker
His spending contrasts sharply with other senior managers at the
university, most of whom just used their credit cards for train
First year students are paying nearly £9,000 a year for their
education, while those in higher years are paying around
Journalism student Charles Precious, 20, who is also the captain
of Christ Church’s first XV rugby team, is outraged at the way Prof
Baker spent the university’s money.
He said: “When students are under financial pressure to pay for
their education, this doesn’t seem to be the wisest way for the
university to spend its money.
“I’m in the bracket of students that pays around £3,000 per year
to go to university.
"The amount Prof Baker spent on his credit card in his short
time here would have paid for five students to be educated for a
Students at Canterbury
Christ Church University
"We are not sure what benefits his trips to places like
Australia and America had. I doubt the university is pulling in
lots of students from Australia, for example."
“I’d never really heard of Prof Baker before this, but since he
left the university there have been a lot of rumours flying around.
We have not been told what happened.”
Details of Prof Baker’s corporate credit card use were disclosed
by Christ Church after a Freedom of Information Act request.
On one occasion he used it to pay £800 for opera tickets, but
the university has insisted that although the visit to the theatre
was for work purposes, the money was paid back to Christ Church by
those who went.
He also spent £109 on purchases from online retailer Amazon,
£286 on taxi and chauffeur services and £248 on books and
The TaxPayers’ Alliance believes Christ Church is duty bound to
spend public money responsibly.
Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the campaign group said:
“Prof Baker’s spending on business class travel, fine dining and
luxury hotels does not stand up to scrutiny.
"When students are under financial pressure to pay for their education, this doesn’t seem to be the wisest way for the university to spend its money" – student Charles Precious
“Wherever taxpayers’ money is being spent, it is vital that
there is transparency about who is spending how much and why, so
that excessive or wasteful spending can be stamped out.”
The university states that Prof Baker’s credit card spending is
not in any way connected to his resignation.
Spokesman Jeanette Earl said: “A vice-chancellor, like most
chief executives, has many duties to fulfil, not least being the
most senior representative for the organisation.
“This can involve international travel, overnight stays in
hotels whilst attending conferences or events, providing
hospitality and hosting visitors from various parts of the UK or
“This credit card expenditure covers business-related activity
undertaken as part of vice-chancellor’s duties.
“The university believes that a corporate credit card
expenditure of around £15,000 by a chief executive in just under
two years, in an organisation with a £120m annual turnover, is not
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