By Caitlyn Crenshaw–
With the bailout of Wall Street executives several years ago, outrage has pervaded national attitudes toward lavish compensation, especially of college presidents.
However, unlike the inflated salaries of Wall Street executives, the new compensation package for President Ramsey was approved with the intent “so that we could pay him appropriately for the work that he is doing and retain his services until 2020,” said Burt Deutsch, University of Louisville Foundation Vice Chairman.
The president received a 25 percent raise bringing his combined base salary to $600,000 with the possibility of four retention bonuses starting in 2014 of $500,000 each.
The money for the raise will come entirely form the U of L Foundation, an entity that does not use student tuition dollars. However, the pay increase has upset some students, considering the U of L Foundation money is also used to provide scholarships.
Aidan Beattie, freshman history major, is one student who disagrees with the President receiving a pay increase.
“My parents are both faculty here and they didn’t really see much of, if any, of that raise at all,” said Beattie. “They put a lot of work into [their jobs] and I think they should get more to show for it, definitely.”
Ramsey’s leadership has led the Foundation to attain assets of a billion dollars through investments, real estate ventures and other methods, even through in a struggling economy.
Many university presidents have the potential to earn six and seven figure salaries. According to the Associated Press, Ramsey’s counterpart at Ohio State University, President Gordon Gee, remains the highest paid president earning $1.3 million. No other university president topped one million. Gee donated his six-figure bonus to the university last year; however, his overall earnings still put him as the number-one-earning public university president since 2007.
Elson Floyd, President of Washington State University, returned $100,000 of his $725,000 salary in 2008. Floyd said in a news release, “it is incumbent upon me to lead by example.”
From 2008 to 2010, Ramsey turned down annual pay raises and bonuses. He accepted a 5-percent salary increase this year, he said, because faculty also received raises. Ramsey accepted this year’s bonus, but donated them to the university.
“He has been a tremendous role model for all of us, especially for us in the Foundation,” Deutsch said. “Jim’s leadership is what has sparked our interest in making sure that Jim is appropriately compensated.”