After the Kansas Board of Regents approved a 2 percent pay increase for university presidents last week, four of the presidents say they do not intend to take the raises.
The regents approved the raises for the presidents the same day they approved a 3.6 percent tuition and fee hike for students. Several of the universities had intended to also raise faculty and staff salaries but said they could not under the current budget.
The presidents of Wichita State, Kansas State, Pittsburg State and Fort Hays State intend either to decline the raise or to donate that money back to their schools, either to students or faculty programs, officials say.
Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little of the University of Kansas – the highest-paid president in the regents system – has not stated her intentions with the pay increase.
Regents said they thought the 2 percent increases were “prudent and reasonable.”
“We want to keep you (the presidents) at the market rates and keep it very competitive,” said regent Fred Logan during the board’s meeting last week.
Emporia State has an interim president, and that position isn’t part of the pay increase.
WSU President John Bardo – the third-highest-paid president – has a base salary of $350,175, according to the regents.
Bardo was not available for comment, but a university spokesman said Bardo told the administration’s finance office that he didn’t intend to keep the salary increase and would likely use it toward something else at the university.
Mirta Martin, president at Fort Hays State, said her school is looking at ways to still provide pay raises to faculty and staff. But until that time, she won’t take a raise.
“I’ve been here 11 months and I speak always of families standing together in good times and bad. For me, ethically and morally, I cannot take a raise when the rest of my family cannot have one,” said Martin, who makes $260,000, according to the regents.
Pittsburg State President Steve Scott’s salary is $258,194, according to the regents. He made his announcement on the university’s Facebook page on Friday.
“This morning I contacted the business office about the possibility of delaying this increase until such time as we have put into place raises for the remainder of the campus,” Scott said on the Facebook post. “If that is not allowed because of the board action, I will gift the increase back to the campus in the form of student scholarships.”
In a statement issued by Kansas State, President Kirk Schulz echoed those sentiments, saying he did not feel it was appropriate to take a raise when the rest of the faculty and staff wouldn’t receive one.
“As such, I will be providing a personal gift in the amount of my raise back to campus toward support of the University Support Staff Awards program,” the statement said.
Schulz makes the second-highest salary among the university presidents, at $466,951 – after KU’s Gray-Little, who makes $500,040.
Following the regents’ decision last week, an online petition against the presidential raises was created at Change.org.
Approved presidential salary increases
2015 base salary
2016 approved salary
University of Kansas
Fort Hays State
The interim president at Emporia State University is not part of the salary increase.
Source: Kansas Board of Regents