In Praise of KSU President Raymond Burse

KSU President Raymond Burse takes pay cut

KSU President Raymond Burse (Screen shot from http://youtu.be/9KdeRhjA9Yc)

Admittedly, a fair amount of our articles often end up being pretty critical.

In some ways, I think this is a reflection of the media culture that we find ourselves in. Whenever I watch the nightly news (and I try to do it less and less), I can’t help but notice that out of the 22 or 23 minutes of actual content about 20 is spent on the negative stories, while the remaining two or three is allotted to a single positive story. There are terrible things happening around the world. There are terrible things happening in our own country. There are terrible things happening in your backyard. But hey, here’s two minutes of puppies frolicking in a field. Feel better?

Of course, there are reasons for this. Terrible things are happening, and people should be informed about them. But also, conflict and scandal and destruction make for more gripping news. Those stories allow for heated “debate,” particularly important at a time when news networks need to fill 24 hours of programming each day.

That debate carries over to the internet as well. A writer pens a critical take on a story and the comments section explodes (not our comments section per se, but I hear this happens on other sites). Because of the controversy now surrounding the article, it gets passed around social media more and that drives pageviews.

So, as consumers of media, 95 percent of the things we see are these types of stories. When we want to write about something, they are what’s fresh in our mind. If I’m being really honest though, we can’t help but be critical often because … well … there are a lot of things that piss us off. Writing about these things allows us to try to make some semblance of sense out of them, even if most of the time it just leaves us with a headache.

Something that we have been critical of in the past has been the state of higher education in the U.S., especially in regard to the incredible levels of income inequality that exist between university employees. If you aren’t familiar with the subject, it’s hard to know where to begin. Things are bad, and they don’t appear to be getting any better anytime soon.

Or so I thought before learning about Kentucky State University interim President Raymond Burse. Burse recently chose to decrease his salary by $90,000 (from $349,869 to $259,745). By doing so, KSU is able to increase the wages of the 24 lowest-paid employees at the school from the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour to $10.25 per hour.

Burse explained his reasoning behind this decision on CBS This Morning.

While Burse’s action isn’t going to solve the myriad of problems that plague higher education, it’s a tiny step in the right direction. Sure, his salary cut won’t affect his quality of life significantly, but it will definitely have a positive effect on the employees that will finally begin to earn a liveable wage. Maybe — and that’s a big maybe — university presidents around the country will follow Burse’s lead and take similar actions in order to help the employees that make up the backbone of the school.

At a time when higher education desperately needs a ray of hope in regard to increasing income inequality, Burse has provided it. And for that, we celebrate him.

We can only hope that we have more to celebrate sometime soon.

______________________________________________________________________________

CharlieCharlie Crespo (@Little_Utopia) is the editor-in-chief of Little Utopia.

Previously from Charlie Crespo:
Viral Video of the Week: Sneaky Lion Cub Scares Dog
Is Print Dead? What About Now? Now?
Justin Bieber is Pretty Much the Worst, but His Music Will Save You from a Bear Attack
Viral Video of the Week: Watch this Sheep Own a Cyclist in a Race
Reviews of (Terrible) Movies Based Solely on a 5 to 10 Minute Fight Scene

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