University President Takes $90,000 Pay Cut to Give a Raise to His Minimum Wage Workers

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Aug. 4 2014 7:03 PM

University President Takes $90,000 Pay Cut to Give a Raise to His Minimum Wage Workers

85879324-janitors-rally-outside-a-ralphs-supermarket-in-downtown
Janitors rally outside a Ralphs supermarket in downtown Los Angeles on April 9, 2009.

Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

Raymond Burse recently took over as president of Kentucky State University. With the job—which Burse will do on an interim basis for a year—comes a nice little paycheck to the tune of almost $350,000. Burse, however, took the selfless, and unusual, step of giving himself a $90,000 pay cut so that the lowest paid employees at the university—clocking in at $7.25 an hour—could have their wages increased to a more livable $10.25, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports.

"This is not a publicity stunt," Burse told the Herald-Leader. "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." Burse said he was in a position to spread the wealth after a career that included a previous stint as president of Kentucky State University in the 1980s, and a decade as a senior executive at General Electric. "My whole thing is I don't need to work," Burse told the Herald-Leader. "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."

Advertisement

The pay raise certainly doesn’t appear to be a publicity stunt, as it will reportedly remain in place, and apply to new hires, even after Burse’s tenure at the school is over.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

  Slate Plus
Working
Nov. 27 2014 12:31 PM Slate’s Working Podcast: Episode 11 Transcript Read what David Plotz asked a helicopter paramedic about his workday.