July 20, 2024

Keeping Media and Government Accountable.

Nearly 300 Kansans In Higher Ed Make 200K, More Than 100 At KU

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According to figures released by the Kansas Policy Institute for the 2017-18 academic year, the State of Kansas pays 292 higher ed professionals more than $200,000 a year.

Some 110 of these are employed by the University of Kansas, and this figure does not include those affiliated with the University of Kansas Medical Center. Seven of those paid by the state make more than $500,000 a year.

To be considered among the “one percent,” a cohort generally reviled on campuses far and wide, an individual must make $250,000 a year. The State of Kansas employs 104 such people in higher ed alone.

In Kansas, a whole lot of faculty has joined the one percent.

The higher ed one-percenter attracting the most attention is former KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little. She is listed as receiving $511,341 in her capacity as ‘Special Advisor” a year after stepping down as chancellor.

Last week, The Lawrence Journal-World’s Joanna Hlavacek contacted Gray-Little. “It is unclear exactly what Gray-Little has done in her role as special adviser,” wrote Hlavacek. “When reached via telephone, she would not answer any questions but simply referred the reporter to KU or the Board of Regents.”

On Saturday, April 28, Star editors asked in their headline, “KU has been paying former Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little her $510K salary. For what, exactly?” The Star editors note that Gray-Little windfall “has irked enough legislators that it might undercut the [Board of Regents’] efforts to gain more funding for student needs.”

This irking is useful. The median family income in Kansas is roughly $50,000. Taxpayers from these families are being asked to pay the ever increasing salaries of university administrators, few of whom share the values of those paying their salaries.

As a case in point, although Donald Trump carried by Kansas by 20 points in the 2016 presidential election, he lost every precinct in Lawrence by at least 25 points and lost several precincts by 60 or more points.

The dollars not provided by taxpayers to pay these salaries are provided by students in the way of tuition. We are told that college students are deeply troubled by income inequality. If so, it is time for them to start speaking up.

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