Hero Of The Week: KSU President Raymond Burse Cuts Own Salary To Help Low-Wage University Workers

Many Americans want the minimum wage to be increased, but Congress refuses to listen. This unfortunate truth really sucks for a whole lot of folks, but certainly not for the minimum-wage employees at Kentucky State University. Why? Because according to the Lexington Herald-Leader, the university’s interim president, Raymond Burse, announced in late July his intention to cut his salary by a whopping $90,215 so that the university’s minimum-wage employees’ hourly earnings can be raised to $10.25 per hour.

The idea initially came to Raymond Burse, who replaced Mary Evans Sias as president after she retired on June 30, after the school board asked him to “draw up a strategic plan for the university.” To do this, Raymond conducted a culture survey to find “how many university employees earn less than $10.25 an hour.” Using this data, he then determined that it would take a $90,125 cut from his salary to ensure that said employees’ salaries could be raised to $10.25.

The question still remains: why did Raymond Burse choose to take such a drastic action? The school board certainly did not expect him to do this, but he did it nevertheless. Raymond explains:

“My whole thing is I don’t need to work. 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… This is not a publicity stunt. 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.”

There you have it. Raymond Burse has made so much money throughout his successful career that he doesn’t really need such a huge salary. And so he voluntarily chose to donate a portion of it to those who desperately do need every iota of money they can get their hands upon. If only more people followed Raymond Burse’s lead, right? Actually, Raymond is not the first university president to do something like this, and hopefully he won’t be the last.

Case in point. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that “moments after President Called on businesses to raise their employees’ wages during his State of the Union address” this past January, the president of Centenary College of Louisiana raised the wage of all university employees to $10.10. Likewise, the president of Hampton University donated over $100,000 of his own money to bump employee wages up to $9 per hour.

Amazing, right? Even more amazing might be the fact that Raymond Burse intends to cut his pay even further in case the university hires anymore minimum-wage employees. Plus, the new wages will remain in place even after Burse steps down in about 12 or so months.

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