16/03/2012 11:32 GMT | Updated 20/03/2012 04:32 GMT

Cardiff University Pays £18,000 For Portrait Of Vice Chancellor David Grant

A university has enraged students by forking out thousands of pounds for a portrait of its vice-chancellor.

Dr David Grant, who has been in the position at Cardiff University since 2001, is currently sitting for the £18,000 portrait to mark his retirement a the end of the academic year.

The Russell Group university will be charging £9,000 a year in tuition fees, starting in September. The decision to commission the portrait, which will be painted by Wales-based artist Keith Breedon, has led to students expressing their frustration at the cost.

Cardiff's student paper the Gair Rhydd commented:

"The decision to continue this [tradition] at a time when many of the schools at the university are facing serious funding shortages might come as a surprise."

The newspaper added the university would be paying Grant in the region of £12,500 to pose for the portrait, taking his £246,000 salary into account.

One student said he was "shocked and annoyed" at the portrait, which he described as "vain".

A spokesperson for the Students' Union said they sympathised with the students.

"We don't believe this level of investment follows the university's mission to enhance the student experience.

"Therefore this should not be a priority for the university."

But Cardiff University defended the decision saying it was a "long established University tradition" and the portrait marked the vice-chancellor's contribution to the university.