University President Cuts His Salary For Low-Wage Workers

Lauren Burgoon
Kentucky State University's new president creates a lasting change for the Thorobreds by giving up a big chunk of his salary.

The interim president of Kentucky State University asked for his salary to be slashed by 25 percent so the university's lowest-paid workers could make a living wage.

Raymond Burse gave up $90,000 so two dozen of KSU's lowest-paid employees can earn $10.25 an hour, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports. They had earned the minimum wage, $7.25 an hour.

Although Burse is the interim president only, KSU employees will benefit from his gesture -- the change is immediate and permanent, regardless of the new university president.

"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," Burse told the Herald-Leader.

Living wage advocates are pushing for higher salaries for workers, saying minimum wage doesn't pay the bills, even when employees work more than 40 hours a week. 

According to MIT's living wage calculator, even $10.25 doesn't go very far in Frankfurt, Kentucky, KSU's home. It would theoretically cover a single person, but add a spouse or child to the mix and even $10.25 doesn't cut it.

Still, as Mary Poppins (Kristen Bell) reminds us, even a $3 increase can make a living wage.