University President Cuts Salary To Raise Wages for Workers

William A. Hudson

The lowest-paid employees at Kentucky State University (KSU) in Frankfort will be getting a raise this year from the minimum wage of $7.25 to $10.25. This is thanks to the university’s interim president Raymond Burse, who announced that he would cut his roughly $350,000 yearly salary by 25 percent to pay for the raises. President Burse, a former executive with General Electric, took the interim position of president back in July. He says that his background, which includes a previous stint as KSU's president in the 1980s, allows him to make decisions like these that might not be accessible to his peers at other institutions. Speaking to the Lexington Herald-Leader, Burse claims that this isn’t a publicity stunt, nor an attempt to shame other universities into adopting similar measures: "My whole thing is I don't need to work," Burse said. "This is not a hobby, but in terms of the people who do the hard work and heavy lifting, they are at the lower pay scale." The raise, which is estimated to affect about two dozen KSU workers, will still apply when a new president takes over from Burse’s interim term; the revised wage will be the starting rate for new hires. While the cuts in the president’s salary will remain for Burse’s contract term, it is unclear whether the salary will remain at the cut rate. 

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William A. Hudson is a summer 2014 In These Times intern.
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