By Cassondra Kirby/Editor
When Kentucky State University announced the salary of its newly appointed president, it was not the only campus affected.The news of KSU President Mary Sias’ $195,000 salary made Eastern President Joanne Glasser the lowest paid university president in Kentucky with a $185,117 salary.
Eastern has nearly seven times more students than KSU.
According to its Web site, the 2003-2004 enrollment for KSU totals 2,305 students, while Eastern’s enrollment for the year adds up to 15,300.
KSU Interim President William Turner was the lowest paid president in the state with $138,679, but the appointment of Sias and her newly negotiated salary moved Glasser down to the bottom.
“I think she does a much better job than many of the people that are higher paid and are in similar positions in the state,” said Kristina O’Brien, student government association president at Eastern and a member of the school’s Board of Regents.
Sias’ salary makes her sixth in the state, also above Morehead State University’s President Ronald Eaglin, who makes $188,000 a year. Lee Todd, the president of the University of Kentucky, is currently the highest paid president in the state with a $272,950 salary.
Eastern Board members discussed giving Glasser a raise last year but decided to wait until the budget situation at Eastern became more stable.
The proposed increase of $20,000 was first requested by Board of Regents Chair Fred Rice and unanimously put on hold at a February 2003 Foundation Board of Directors meeting.
Rice did not return Progress phone calls as of press time.
The request called for the foundation to fund the $20,000 annual salary supplement, which was to be paid semi annually, as well as a contribution of an annual $25,000 payment to Glasser’s deferred compensation plan, which would be paid in quarterly installments.
Glasser, who was vocal about not supporting a salary boost if the money had to come from public funds, which includes things like state appropriations and tuition – and said she would not take the increase at the time because of the budget situation.
She has been made aware of ongoing conversations by board members concerning a salary increase.
“Any further comment by me at this time would be inappropriate,” she said. Glasser would not say whether she would take a salary increase if it were offered this year.
Faculty Senate Chair Keith Johnson said, “it certianly would not bother me to see her get a salary increase.”
“I don’t think we have ever had a president that has been out front and really worked as hard as she has,” he said.
O’Brien said she agrees with Johnson and said it is an issue that deserves attention.
“I think it has been discussed that she unequivocally deserves to have a raise and anybody that I have spoken to thinks she deserves it – but the bigger issue revolves around the university’s budget and what we wish we can do and what we are able to do,” O’Brien said.
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