18 Sep

The tale of the death of an adjunct at Duquesne University

You know, as Christ would have wanted them to do…

“Meanwhile, in the past year, her teaching load had been reduced by the university to one class a semester, which meant she was making well below $10,000 a year. With huge out-of-pocket bills from UPMC Mercy for her cancer treatment, Margaret Mary was left in abject penury. She could no longer keep her electricity on in her home, which became uninhabitable during the winter. She therefore took to working at an Eat ‘n Park at night and then trying to catch some sleep during the day at her office at Duquesne. When this was discovered by the university, the police were called in to eject her from her office. Still, despite her cancer and her poverty, she never missed a day of class.

Finally, in the spring, she was let go by the university, which told her she was no longer effective as an instructor — despite many glowing evaluations from students. She came to me to seek legal help to try to save her job. She said that all she wanted was money to pay her medical bills because Duquesne, which never paid her much to begin with, gave her nothing on her way out the door.

Duquesne knew all about Margaret Mary’s plight, for I apprised them of it in two letters. I never received a reply, and Margaret Mary was forced to die saddened, penniless and on the verge of being turned over to Orphan’s Court.”

(Via Death of an adjunct – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)

As the corporatizing of everything continues, either we will have to figure out how to create safety nets that do not depend at all on where we work, worship, or live, or we will all die like Margaret Mary. The fact that she was a fellow of the same belief system, university, or educated class did nothing for her, I doubt any of them will save any of us either.

Stories like these make me hope ACA gets through in the next couple months.

[link via M J Locke]

Follow up thought. Corporations are always whining, particularly HR, about the fact that Millennials job hop, and have no loyalty to systems (corporations, parties, religions).

Gee whiz. I wonder why the fuck not?