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Herald-Leader on $1.9 million payment to U of L’s Ramsey

October 23, 2009

The Lexington Herald-Leader‘s editorial board weighed in on the $1.9 million payment from the University of Louisville Foundation to U of L President James Ramsey that reporter Ryan Alessi recently brought to light.

The payment was made to compensate Ramsey for missing out on state retirement benefits when he made the move to the University of Louisville, according to a foundation spokesman.

But as the Herald-Leader’s editorial points out, providing such a sweetheart deal secretively during a time when higher education is frequently bemoaning underfunding is a shame.

From the editorial

Let’s say you’re John Q. Taxpayer who’s struggling to put away even a little money for retirement. How will you respond when Ramsey and other university presidents go to the legislature hats in hand pleading that higher education should be spared the cuts that are decimating other state services?

You’re going to scoff. The atrocious inflation in university presidents’ compensation, which has occurred in tandem with bloated private-sector CEO pay, is an affront to working people who pay taxes and students working full-time jobs to afford ever rising tuition.

The argument that the $1.9 million doesn’t count because the foundation’s money comes from private sources does not wash. It’s money contributed to advance U of L that could have been spent on scholarships, professorships, buildings, maintenance or even a one-time employee pay bonus.

With this absurdly generous, $1.9 million secret payment, U of L has made it harder for all of higher education to make a convincing case that it’s needy or deserving. And that is a shame.

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