Praise University President for Sacrificing to Raise Worker Salaries


Target: Raymond Burse, Interim President, Kentucky State University

Goal: Applaud University President for taking a salary cut, thereby allowing the university’s minimum wage workers to realize a pay increase

Interim University President Raymond Burse requested a pay decrease so the minimum wage workers on his campus could realize an immediate and permanent pay increase.

Raymond Burse grew up the youngest of thirteen children, with parents that had not graduated from grammar school. Even so, his parents always stressed the value of hard work and education to their children. As a result, Mr. Burse worked his way to a Bachelor’s Degree in math and chemistry from Centre College where he was named to the Dean’s List, was chosen as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, and continued on to receive his law degree from Harvard Law School. After his schooling, Mr. Burse went on to become a partner at a law firm and later an executive at General Electric. He has been heavily invested in his community, serving on a multitude of committees to include the State YMCA of Kentucky and the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage.

Currently serving as Interim President of Kentucky State University, Mr. Burse inquired how many university employees were earning minimum wage. These workers included custodians, clerical and grounds workers. The count of these employees totaled 24 low-wage workers.

Mr. Burse then brought a proposal to the university’s board. He wished to have his salary reduced by $90,000 in order for these workers to have their salaries increased from their current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour to $10.25 an hour. The board approved of the proposition and the increase for these employees was made immediate and permanent. This new wage rate will also be instituted for all new hires of the university.

Mr. Burse modestly states that he could afford the cut and wanted to do his best for these workers. A refreshing take from a man of power for people that work for him, and he should be applauded for it. Sign this petition to thank Mr. Burse for taking a bold and inspirational stance that will hopefully impact the decisions of others in similar positions.


Dear Mr. Burse,

I applaud your forethought and lack of self in consideration of the low income workers at Kentucky State University.

Your selflessness in giving up part your salary so others can have a better day-to-day chance at making a living wage is truly inspiring.

Your example of caring for those under your employ is a fine example of leadership for the students of Kentucky. I hope they take note and take this lesson with them in their own vocations, and that other leaders in higher education follow your example.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Matthew Peek via Wikimedia Commons

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