Aberdeen University has now been waiting for more than a year to hear whether Sir Ian Diamond will return £119,000 from his “golden goodbye”.
The ancient institution’s former principal, who currently serves as Britain’s national statistician, has not responded to the request since it was made in July last year.
Sir Ian was asked to give the money back after two investigations were held into the pay-off he received when he left the Granite City in 2018.
Aberdeen University Students’ Association president Alisa Koester said the former boss was being “remembered as the principal who put himself before students”.
She said: “Students will rightly be very angry that, one year on, there has still been no response from the former principal on this matter.
“The right thing to do is to return the money.
“This could have been put to so many valuable uses given the difficulties students have faced during the pandemic.”
This could have been put to so many valuable uses given the difficulties students have faced during the pandemic.”
We have calculated that £119,000 is the equivalent of 59 Prince of Wales scholarships at the university, a year’s worth of stationary and textbooks for 396 students, or 31,315 student day tickets for Aberdeen buses.
The controversy erupted after it emerged that Sir Ian only triggered his year-long notice period at the moment he was succeeded by George Boyne in the summer of 2018, despite announcing his plans to retire from Aberdeen University a year earlier.
University accounts for 2017-18 showed that Sir Ian was getting £601,000 – including a salary of £282,000, pension contributions to the value of £30,000, and contractual notice period payment and related expenses of £289,000.
A further £60,000 payment to Sir Ian should also have been disclosed in the accounts, inquiries found.
Investigations by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) concluded that the university needlessly “incurred the cost of two principals” over a financial year as a result of its arrangement with Sir Ian.
The SFC ordered the university to return £119,000 of its grant following a probe.
We previously revealed e-mails showing that, on July 1 last year, former university secretary Steven Cannon wrote to Sir Ian to say: “The SFC judged that your severance broke the rules and asked for £119,000 to be repaid.
“For the same reason the university formally requests you to repay to it the sum of £119,000.”
On July 28 an unnamed official wrote again, saying: “We would be grateful if you could now let us know your decision with regard to making a repayment to the university.”
It is understood that Sir Ian has never responded.
Ms Koester said: “While important lessons have been learned by the university, and procedures have been put in place to ensure that this type of thing can’t happen again, it is unfortunate that Sir Ian Diamond, who should have been a role model for students, is being remembered as the principal who put himself before students.”
Sir Ian and the UK Statistics Authority have always declined to comment.
Aberdeen University said: “Our request remains with Professor Sir Ian Diamond for consideration, however we have received no response to date.
“In the circumstances the university regretfully has little alternative but to consider the matter closed.”