University Prez Takes $90K Pay Cut to Help Lowest Paid
KSU chief brings campus minimum wage up to $10.25
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 6, 2014 2:38 AM CDT
Kentucky State University's Jackson Hall.   (Wikimedia Commons)

(Newser) – Kentucky State University's new president has given the lowest-paid workers on campus a pay raise out of his own salary. Before his contract as interim president was approved last month, Raymond Burse asked how many employees earned less than $10.25 per hour and volunteered to take a pay cut to bring their salary up to that level, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader. The board agreed to cut his annual salary from $349,869 to $259,744. "This is not a publicity stunt," he says. "You don't give up $90,000 for publicity. I did this for the people. This is something I've been thinking about from the very beginning." The pay raises will stay in place after he departs.

Some of the 24 workers involved, including groundskeepers and custodians, had been making the federal minimum wage of just $7.25 per hour. Burse, who was KSU president from 1982 to 1989 before becoming a general counsel at GE, says he will take more pay cuts if more workers are hired at minimum wage. Burse says he has high expectations for his staff and wanted to give them something in return, reports the Washington Post, which notes that a bill to raise Kentucky's minimum wage to $10.10 failed in the state Senate earlier this year. "I didn't have any examples of it having been done out there, and I didn't do it to be an example to anyone else," Burke says. "I did it to do right by the employees here."

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Sep 21, 2014 6:49 PM CDT
More unexpected castles... in the U.S.
Aug 10, 2014 8:46 AM CDT
All in all, I think it was a good gesture. Most university presidents are not worth half of what they make. It's silly what some of them make, plus the housing allowances and whatever other perqs they get. And the surprising thing is that most university presidents are liberals. You'd think they'd put their money where their mouths are - not really. And this I why this guy is an exception. As for the liberal free-market types who believe that wages must be set by the market mechanism, that same BS was uttered by liberal newspaper editors after Henry Ford doubled his workers' pay. The whole system would collapse said the editors. In a just society, it would be be prohibited to treat people as means or commodities. This is simply basic Kantian metaphysics. For those who want a society based on hustle rather than on labor, I'd promptly send them packing to China or some Third World hell-hole where they can enjoy the blessings of unrestricted market chaos.
Tyree V. Johnson
Aug 7, 2014 2:22 PM CDT
MrTy - Just have to keep on thinking about that Pres Burse of Ky. Since we can't take our wealth with us, when we depart from this life, why on earth wouldn't any straight thinking person, such as Pres Burse, want to do something to help some poor people along? Matter of factly - Scripture say, Proverbs 22:16, "He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want." There is nothing wrong with the wealthier person accepting less, in order to help the less paid along this journey. We are all entitled to what is good, and we all are our brothers keeper. Over & Out, MrTy