Three things that would have been more-suitable and less-expensive expressions of gratitude than the $510,041 the University of Kansas is paying former chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little this academic year:
A silver chalice engraved with “Thanks, Dr. BGL!”
Renaming a KU street “Gray-Little Lane.”
Paid-off, lifetime Turnpike K-Tags for Gray-Little and her immediate family. (Heck, cross out “immediate” for as much as KU’s paying her.)
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News of Gray-Little being paid more than a half-million to be a “special advisor” was revealed last week. Though it’s probably not the first time an outgoing university president has been given a large compensation package, it’s ludicrous Gray-Little is being given such a sweetheart deal given the tight budgets that state universities are facing.
According to Kansas Board of Regents president Blake Flanders, 55 percent of the amount (more than $280,000) comes from public funds.
Quite simply, this is a bad look for the Board of Regents, charged with maintaining quality public higher education in Kansas. This can’t be argued to be an effective use of public funds, keeping the former chancellor on retainer while a new chancellor (Douglas Girod) settles into the job.
It’s also a bad look for Gray-Little, who knows the restrictions of the KU budget. But then again, if someone offers you $510,041 on the way out the door, you don’t refuse.
By the way, the salary Gray-Little receives (the same amount she earned in her last of nine years as chancellor) would’ve paid for one year of tuition, fees, housing, meals and books for 28 in-state students.
Or 1,360 of the best seats for a season of KU football. (Insert joke here.)
Or two beers and two burgers for every KU student at The Wheel. (Or three burgers for underage students.)
Gray-Little and the Board of Regents should be ashamed.