University President Takes Salary Cut to Help Minimum-Wage Workers

Raymond Burse believes in spreading the wealth. The interim president of Kentucky State University is giving up more than $90,000 of his annual salary to boost pay for the school’s minimum-wage employees.

Raymond Burse, Kentucky State University interim president

Raymond Burse, Kentucky State University interim president

“This is not a publicity stunt,” Burse told the Lexington 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.”

Thanks to Burse’s generosity, lower-paid workers will immediately see more money in their paychecks, as their hourly wage jumps from $7.25 to $10.25.

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This is Burse’s second time leading the Frankfort, Ky., university. He served as its president from 1982 to 1989 before joining General Electric as an executive. He retired from GE in 2012 after 17 years.

“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.”

Burse’s annual salary, which had been set at $349,869, is now $259,745. The pay hike for employees – as well as new hires – will remain even after a new president is selected, according to the Herald-Leader.

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Burse follows in the footsteps of Hampton University President William R. Harvey and his wife, Norma, who have given more than $1 million over the past several years to boost salaries for faculty and hourly employees at the Virginia institution.


Photo: Kentucky State University


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