HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » Underpaid 83-Year-Old Pro...
Introducing Discussionist: A new forum by the creators of DU

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 06:22 AM

Underpaid 83-Year-Old Professor Died Trying to Make Ends Meet by Working Night Shift at Eat an' Save

http://www.alternet.org/economy/underpaid-83-year-old-professor-died-trying-make-ends-meet-working-night-shift-eat-save



On Sept. 1, Margaret Mary Vojtko, an adjunct professor who had taught French at Duquesne University for 25 years, passed away at the age of 83. She died as the result of a massive heart attack she suffered two weeks before. As it turned out, I may have been the last person she talked to.

On Aug. 16, I received a call from a very upset Margaret Mary. She told me that she was under an incredible amount of stress. She was receiving radiation therapy for the cancer that had just returned to her, she was living nearly homeless because she could not afford the upkeep on her home, which was literally falling in on itself, and now, she explained, she had received another indignity -- a letter from Adult Protective Services telling her that someone had referred her case to them saying that she needed assistance in taking care of herself. The letter said that if she did not meet with the caseworker the following Monday, her case would be turned over to Orphans' Court.

For a proud professional like Margaret Mary, this was the last straw; she was mortified. She begged me to call Adult Protective Services and tell them to leave her alone, that she could take care of herself and did not need their help. I agreed to. Sadly, a couple of hours later, she was found on her front lawn, unconscious from a heart attack. She never regained consciousness.

Meanwhile, I called Adult Protective Services right after talking to Margaret Mary, and I explained the situation. I said that she had just been let go from her job as a professor at Duquesne, that she was given no severance or retirement benefits, and that the reason she was having trouble taking care of herself was because she was living in extreme poverty. The caseworker paused and asked with incredulity, "She was a professor?" I said yes. The case- worker was shocked; this was not the usual type of person for whom she was called in to help.

159 replies, 13930 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 159 replies Author Time Post
Reply Underpaid 83-Year-Old Professor Died Trying to Make Ends Meet by Working Night Shift at Eat an' Save (Original post)
xchrom Sep 2013 OP
hobbit709 Sep 2013 #1
leveymg Sep 2013 #33
eppur_se_muova Sep 2013 #79
leveymg Sep 2013 #89
LongTomH Sep 2013 #91
nadinbrzezinski Sep 2013 #101
awoke_in_2003 Sep 2013 #127
grillo7 Sep 2013 #154
Enthusiast Sep 2013 #76
RedCappedBandit Sep 2013 #2
prairierose Sep 2013 #78
Jackpine Radical Sep 2013 #88
prairierose Sep 2013 #110
shireen Sep 2013 #146
prairierose Sep 2013 #147
man4allcats Sep 2013 #121
prairierose Sep 2013 #145
orpupilofnature57 Sep 2013 #3
Moostache Sep 2013 #24
Divernan Sep 2013 #41
nadinbrzezinski Sep 2013 #102
malaise Sep 2013 #4
cantbeserious Sep 2013 #10
malaise Sep 2013 #16
nikto Sep 2013 #28
malaise Sep 2013 #29
leveymg Sep 2013 #35
Live and Learn Sep 2013 #83
madrchsod Sep 2013 #108
stevenleser Sep 2013 #52
SoCalDem Sep 2013 #98
malaise Sep 2013 #107
Lucinda Sep 2013 #5
another_liberal Sep 2013 #6
enlightenment Sep 2013 #48
another_liberal Sep 2013 #106
enlightenment Sep 2013 #109
another_liberal Sep 2013 #122
tomg Sep 2013 #7
malaise Sep 2013 #18
nadinbrzezinski Sep 2013 #105
mike_c Sep 2013 #111
tomg Sep 2013 #135
anneboleyn Sep 2013 #150
barbiegeek Sep 2013 #8
Divernan Sep 2013 #17
QC Sep 2013 #9
quakerboy Sep 2013 #152
ColumbusLib Sep 2013 #11
marions ghost Sep 2013 #43
nadinbrzezinski Sep 2013 #93
TxDemChem Sep 2013 #12
RKP5637 Sep 2013 #13
hatrack Sep 2013 #14
nikto Sep 2013 #155
Divernan Sep 2013 #15
Moostache Sep 2013 #26
Divernan Sep 2013 #31
heaven05 Sep 2013 #50
area51 Sep 2013 #153
onlyadream Sep 2013 #19
marmar Sep 2013 #20
Divernan Sep 2013 #21
Le Taz Hot Sep 2013 #36
Divernan Sep 2013 #39
Le Taz Hot Sep 2013 #46
Divernan Sep 2013 #57
Le Taz Hot Sep 2013 #61
Divernan Sep 2013 #67
diane in sf Sep 2013 #130
Divernan Sep 2013 #132
AtheistCrusader Sep 2013 #112
lapislzi Sep 2013 #90
Alkene Sep 2013 #22
Starry Messenger Sep 2013 #23
Divernan Sep 2013 #25
aikoaiko Sep 2013 #27
nikto Sep 2013 #30
aikoaiko Sep 2013 #40
My Good Babushka Sep 2013 #32
aikoaiko Sep 2013 #44
My Good Babushka Sep 2013 #54
aikoaiko Sep 2013 #59
Divernan Sep 2013 #60
aikoaiko Sep 2013 #66
Divernan Sep 2013 #69
aikoaiko Sep 2013 #71
whathehell Sep 2013 #37
aikoaiko Sep 2013 #42
whathehell Sep 2013 #119
aikoaiko Sep 2013 #124
Divernan Sep 2013 #38
marions ghost Sep 2013 #45
aikoaiko Sep 2013 #47
hatrack Sep 2013 #49
enlightenment Sep 2013 #53
aikoaiko Sep 2013 #55
Sheldon Cooper Sep 2013 #64
kiva Sep 2013 #95
aikoaiko Sep 2013 #113
sammytko Sep 2013 #58
Divernan Sep 2013 #68
sammytko Sep 2013 #70
Divernan Sep 2013 #134
sammytko Sep 2013 #136
sammytko Sep 2013 #138
Divernan Sep 2013 #140
sammytko Sep 2013 #143
niyad Sep 2013 #81
Heather MC Sep 2013 #34
Theyletmeeatcake2 Sep 2013 #51
OneGrassRoot Sep 2013 #56
PopeOxycontinI Sep 2013 #62
MuseRider Sep 2013 #63
xchrom Sep 2013 #65
Starry Messenger Sep 2013 #84
Brigid Sep 2013 #72
xchrom Sep 2013 #73
SoCalDem Sep 2013 #103
n2doc Sep 2013 #74
gussmith Sep 2013 #75
sammytko Sep 2013 #80
gussmith Sep 2013 #86
jopacaco Sep 2013 #77
JustAnotherGen Sep 2013 #82
Efilroft Sul Sep 2013 #85
nadinbrzezinski Sep 2013 #96
TBF Sep 2013 #87
MuseRider Sep 2013 #92
tblue Sep 2013 #94
kelliekat44 Sep 2013 #97
nadinbrzezinski Sep 2013 #104
magical thyme Sep 2013 #99
Divernan Sep 2013 #137
magical thyme Sep 2013 #144
Divernan Sep 2013 #156
nadinbrzezinski Sep 2013 #100
SheilaT Sep 2013 #114
sammytko Sep 2013 #118
Divernan Sep 2013 #120
SheilaT Sep 2013 #148
Hissyspit Sep 2013 #115
Hissyspit Sep 2013 #116
Divernan Sep 2013 #123
hatrack Sep 2013 #133
mn9driver Sep 2013 #139
niyad Sep 2013 #158
glinda Sep 2013 #117
KansDem Sep 2013 #125
Divernan Sep 2013 #126
blue neen Sep 2013 #128
Divernan Sep 2013 #141
blue neen Sep 2013 #142
Helen Borg Sep 2013 #129
pitbullgirl1965 Sep 2013 #131
AnnieBW Sep 2013 #149
Divernan Sep 2013 #157
niyad Sep 2013 #159
Liberal_in_LA Sep 2013 #151

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 06:25 AM

1. That's the new America

Work you to death and for what?

The American Dream has become the American Nightmare.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to hobbit709 (Reply #1)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 08:57 AM

33. America is now the new Former Soviet Union.

It's now our turn to be the empire in collapse. The US is also turning to cannibalization of pensions and public services to feed the remaining privileged few and the corrupt secret services that protect them.

This sort of thing is becoming more and more common as the cracks become just a lot of open space with no bottom under the feet of increasing numbers of well educated, formerly middle-class Americans.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to leveymg (Reply #33)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 12:01 PM

79. "Upper Volta with missles" is how many in the former USSR described what was left of their society..

the USA is the new Upper Volta.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to eppur_se_muova (Reply #79)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 12:46 PM

89. The cars in Moscow now tend to be newer and pricier than in Washington, D.C.



I've noticed, there's also not nearly as much traffic in D.C. as there was a decade or two ago.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to leveymg (Reply #89)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 12:53 PM

91. I've started noticing less traffic in KC recently.

I'm sure it's been going on for a while; but, it takes a while for it to be noticed.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to leveymg (Reply #33)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 01:13 PM

101. I prefer Spain

Due to the massive transfer of Gold, in our case dollars, to the successor Empire. But people are more used to the USSR

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to leveymg (Reply #33)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 04:58 PM

127. Spot on. nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to leveymg (Reply #33)

Fri Sep 20, 2013, 12:31 AM

154. It appears to be on that path...

Our crumbling infrastructure reminds me of this as well. A physician from the USSR that I work with said the hospital we work at reminds him of the Soviet hospitals he trained in, though he finds it weirdly comforting. It's visibly falling apart. As are many of our bridges, buildings, roads, etc.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to hobbit709 (Reply #1)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 10:58 AM

76. At least she wasn't a useless eater.

She worked to the end. Let her be an example for us all.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 06:29 AM

2. 25 years as a professor and nothing...

shameful

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to RedCappedBandit (Reply #2)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 11:57 AM

78. That is about the same place I am...

but I haven't been with the same school for 25 years. I still have time to put more into my SS account but I am getting really tired of teaching for no money and no benefits. If they raised minimum wage, I would go to work at McDonalds. I wouldn't have to deal with students and their complaints and I could walk out the door and not think about work at all.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to prairierose (Reply #78)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 12:46 PM

88. I abandoned the non-tenure, LTE instructor treadmill 30 years ago.

I hear ya loud & clear. Fortunately, with a PhD in psych, I was able to retread myself as a clinician, but teaching & research were my true callings, and I still regret the academic career I never really had.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Jackpine Radical (Reply #88)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 01:50 PM

110. Well, I am finally trying to get myself out of this mess....

I am trying to start a couple of online businesses and once I replace my pitiful salary I will quit teaching.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to prairierose (Reply #110)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 10:52 PM

146. i've always admired entrepreneurs

I'd love to start an online business but have no idea what to do or where to start.

Good luck ... I really hope things work out for you!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to shireen (Reply #146)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 11:02 PM

147. I am really lucky....

I have more ideas than I can use. I have a great business partner and my uncle teaches entrepreneurship so I have him to ask for advice.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to prairierose (Reply #78)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 04:47 PM

121. I am in a similar situation.

I worked for 16 years as a biomedical research tech before being summarily booted out the door at the age of 62 with nothing to show for it (I started my graduate studies late so I didn't get into research until I was in my late 40s). I'm now 65 and driving a truck part-time for a small company while collecting what little I can from Social Security at a reduced monthly rate because I opted to start drawing benefits early. Of late I've been wondering what will happen to me down the road. I'm struggling now, and unless something changes I expect things will only get worse. This poor woman's story may serve as a prelude for the future of myself and many others in similar situations. Someone down thread mentioned trying to fill the gap with online business ventures. I am working toward something similar since I am reasonably well versed in such matters. Hopefully that will pan out. If not, I see the future looking disconcertingly bleak for me.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to man4allcats (Reply #121)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 10:48 PM

145. Yes, I am afraid that many of us....

will be in a bad situation and I do not see that there is much chance of positive change coming any time soon.

Good luck to you.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 06:31 AM

3. Dusquesne should be proud .

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to orpupilofnature57 (Reply #3)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 08:41 AM

24. Dusquesne should see a MASSIVE loss of student population...

UNLESS they have decided to go "all-in" as a place of 'education' for the privileged alone.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Moostache (Reply #24)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 09:10 AM

41. Students are first-generation college Catholics who couldn't get in at Notre Dame/Georgetown.

Lots of local kids. Extremely conservative school - spends some of the tuition money to bring in guest speakers like Clarence Thomas, Scalia, Alito. The supreme irony is that for most of these students, their grandfathers/great-grandfathers were laborers until unionization.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Moostache (Reply #24)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 01:14 PM

102. Why? The rest of the schools treat their profs the same way

I wish I were kidding

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 06:33 AM

4. Classic case of a victim of neo-liberalism

No benefits, no pension, no health care. Sadly many professionals in universities remained silent when they introduced these policies for the ancillary workers and never dreamed that when they were finished with them they were coming for the rest of staff.

Something is going to give one of these days. They are destroying all classes except the one percent.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to malaise (Reply #4)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 07:43 AM

10. Until The American People Have Had Enough - Things Won't Change

eom

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cantbeserious (Reply #10)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 08:25 AM

16. Not just the American people

the people of the globe.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to malaise (Reply #4)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 08:50 AM

28. Try calling a Neoliberal a Neoliberal when you talk with them

Repeatedly, in back and forth post discussions on various boards, I point out
to some Neoliberals that they ARE, indeed, Neoliberals.

They HATE the term.

Many, while pontificating on the glories of Free Market Capitalism
and its fabulous purity and perfection, don't even know what the term means, and think it means "Liberal".


They hate it!

But if we were to coin a term like,
"The Magnificent Church of Perfect Free-Market Morality and Justice",
I have a feeling they'd like that a lot.

I have found Neoliberals to be, most usually, morally weak and intellectually barren, while being
insufferably self-righteous and obtuse.

Except for the few who are actually wealthy.

We call them the top 2%,
just lookin' out for #1.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to nikto (Reply #28)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 08:51 AM

29. You're right

They don't even know what they are

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to nikto (Reply #28)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 09:00 AM

35. A lot of Neoliberals are liberals about social issues, but are me-firsters on taxes and economics.

If it impacts their incomes, even a little, they might as well be Republicans.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to leveymg (Reply #35)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 12:19 PM

83. +1 nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to leveymg (Reply #35)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 01:40 PM

108. you mean the people who used to be called rockefeller republicans?

yup that`s the mainstream democratic party.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to nikto (Reply #28)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 09:27 AM

52. I find that close to 100% of people object to labels with which they do not self-identify

It probably makes a lot more sense to say to people, "I think your belief system is wrong because you believe X which causes Y" rather than apply a label to them, particularly one like "Neoliberal" which has been hopelessly corrupted and now means many different things to different people.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to malaise (Reply #4)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 01:08 PM

98. It's always incremental, so that people not immediately affected

will pay not attention...and then it's the next step up, until there are no numbers of any consequence, to fight back..

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to SoCalDem (Reply #98)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 01:31 PM

107. You nailed it

I was looking at some 2012 data from our hemisphere and Jamaica is now at the bottom of all countries in terms of percentage of the population involved in protests. It's scary.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 06:36 AM

5. ...

knr

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 07:08 AM

6. It's one of Big Brother's three great slogans . . .

"Ignorance is strength."

Pay your educators crap, and soon you will only have crappy educators. That will be good for the one percent (whose children will still get the first rate education no longer available to anyone else). As George Carlin said:

They only want Obedient workers, people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork. And just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime and vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to another_liberal (Reply #6)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 09:21 AM

48. How do you draw that conclusion?

Is there anything in that article that suggests Mary Margaret was a "crappy" educator?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to enlightenment (Reply #48)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 01:27 PM

106. Read what I posted again. It was not in reference to her skills, but the system now in place

I was suggesting that if our educators continue to be treated as she was, eventually only the worst will remain in the profession. She and her fate are at the beginning of the process, the final outcome would be later, and only if the current system is not changed for the better.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to another_liberal (Reply #106)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 01:49 PM

109. If you say so.

From the perspective of someone like her, however - and with the knowledge that this isn't the beginning of the process, but a continuation of a process that has been in place for several decades, it still kind of looks like you're suggesting she was "one of the worst" - those that remain in a crappy situation because they can do no better and are, by extension, crappy educators.

I accept that's not what you mean to say.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to enlightenment (Reply #109)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 04:49 PM

122. You clearly misunderstood my meaning.

I worked as an adjunct Professor for eleven years. I know many good people in that position are trying to do the best they can for their students. It is also a fact that a great many more good people leave education because they can't take they low pay and lack of benefits any longer. Eventually all that will be left are a few saints who love their profession too much to ever quit and a multitude of other people who are staying just long enough to find something in another field.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 07:28 AM

7. From my own experience

- 45 years in academia and teaching on all levels and in all capacities( ta, adjunct for over 15 years, tenured prof 20 years) I find full-time academics in general utterly and I think often willfully oblivious to the working conditions of those who are not on tenure track. Again, this is from my own experience only but by and large, my colleagues are all uniformly liberal in their politics and voting practices and completely Randian in their daiiy practices towards their non-tenured and junior colleagues ( at least when it comes to cutting up the pie). More often than not, they are simply playing into the hands of administration. Professor Vojtko was an adjunct, probably the toughest and worst academic position to hold.
What the Duquesne administration did was utterly despicable, but they are the administration and what can you expect from them with the corporatization of the university. In a way I actually hold them less morally culpable ( although clearly they are). I don't know about the Duquesne Faculty Governance system or how its contracts work, but if they are anything like where I work ( we actually compete against them and are ranked in the same type and class), I doubt the faculty contract negotiators did much, if anything, to alleviate the plight of adjuncts. At our last contract vote, a few of us raised the issue of adjunct pay and representing them in negotiations. Our chief negotiators replied to the effect that "adjuncts were not our problem."

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to tomg (Reply #7)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 08:27 AM

18. This

- 45 years in academia and teaching on all levels and in all capacities( ta, adjunct for over 15 years, tenured prof 20 years) I find full-time academics in general utterly and I think often willfully oblivious to the working conditions of those who are not on tenure track. Again, this is from my own experience only but by and large, my colleagues are all uniformly liberal in their politics and voting practices and completely Randian in their daiiy practices towards their non-tenured and junior colleagues ( at least when it comes to cutting up the pie). More often than not, they are simply playing into the hands of administration. Professor Vojtko was an adjunct, probably the toughest and worst academic position to hold.



100% correct

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink



Response to tomg (Reply #7)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 01:57 PM

111. my union represents our lecturers just as it represents our tenure line faculty....

California Faculty Assn. Our lecturers get benefits, retirement once they're vested, etc. We've managed to get them longer term contracts, too. They're STILL at the bottom of the academic totem pole and the itinerant labor of higher ed, but at least their working conditions are better than many adjuncts experience. Unions matter.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to mike_c (Reply #111)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 07:04 PM

135. Absolutely spot on.

As a result of the Yeshiva decision, our faculty are not allowed to unionize ( we probably would not if we could). Technically, we all full-time faculty at private institutions and are considered "administration." We still bargain through our Faculty Governance. Our non-tenure line lecturers are part of our contract negotiations and have benefits, are vested in the TIAA-CREF and so on. But our adjuncts are screwed. Last year our core curriculum underwent a major revision. One result ( moving to 4 credit courses, changes in core distribution etc.) was that we simply let go a very high number of adjuncts without so much as a "So long, it's been good to know you." that happened to me once when I was adjuncting. Due to schedule changes , I lost all of my courses one day before classes. All of my sections were filled, but a full-timers didn't go and I was out. I was also disallowed from unemployment. Kind of made it hard to feed my kid and to eat.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to tomg (Reply #7)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 11:14 PM

150. Excellent. As a fellow (junior) academic I think you are spot on.

My spouse and I have seen the very behaviors you are describing. I posted on another thread (concerning this story) that the AAUP should be alerted to a situation like this -- honestly I have never heard of a person working as an adjunct for twenty-five years (and into her eighties) as there are normally limits on this kind of thing in terms of the amount of time a person can be employed as an adjunct (not on the tenure track). It should definitely be investigated.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 07:35 AM

8. This should be on the news for public outcry in your area

This is elderly abuse. Disguisting. You should tip off the news media.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to barbiegeek (Reply #8)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 08:26 AM

17. Post-Gazette has received over 1,000 outraged comments from readers.

I've never seen even a hundred responses to a story there before.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 07:38 AM

9. Undergrad tuition at Duquesne runs from $29k-$43k.

They have an endowment of app. $177 million.

Their president is paid $700k.

We're not talking about an impoverished teacher's college out in the sticks.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to QC (Reply #9)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 11:29 PM

152. I keep wondering where exactly all the money for tuition goes?

so.. go with the low end of that, 29k tuition. Wikipedia says they have over 10k students.

Thats theoretically 290,000,000 coming in per year in tuition, low end. And that doesn't count room and board fees which can be anywhere from 9k to 24k per year.

Figure 1 staff member per ten students. I am guessing its less, but it seems like a reasonable, generous guess when you consider admissions, lab techs, student life, maintenance, etc. That would be 1000 staff. And lets pretend they all make tenured prof pay, around 100k/year. That's about 100 million to pay all the staffing, at the most. About 1/3 of the tuition cost, even when you add in the presidents million (700k, but you have to consider employment taxes and any bonuses or benefits).

Even if you figure they roll 33% back into scholarships and grants, that still leaves a lot of wiggle room. Probably a very high estimate but even that still leaves about 100 million, not counting room and board or any other fees, not counting any money that comes in off of athletics(if thats a money maker in this case) or alumni donations, federal grants, etc.

That's about 100 million, or 10k per student for building upkeep, supplies, marketing materials, etc. Per year.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 07:43 AM

11. This is absolutely the norm

I am a full-time tenured college professor and my husband is adjunct at two different colleges. He doesn't expect to become full-time (with benefits) at any point due to his specialization, and it is a gamble to work for decades knowing you have no retirement, etc. I try to bring this up at faculty meetings, etc. and get sympathy but no changes to speak of.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to ColumbusLib (Reply #11)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 09:14 AM

43. Right

the exploitation of academics is something that needs addressing in a big way.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to ColumbusLib (Reply #11)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 12:56 PM

93. Adjuncts are seen as cheap labor

And colleges prefer them

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 07:49 AM

12. Absolutely terrible

I am at an utter loss for words

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 07:51 AM

13. Makes one proud of the USA! Ain't American the best place in the world! Go USA! Go USA! Go USA!


Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to RKP5637 (Reply #13)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 07:56 AM

14. America! Fuck Yeah!!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to RKP5637 (Reply #13)

Fri Sep 20, 2013, 03:24 AM

155. Your sarcasm is entirely appropriate

America's neoliberal streak is downright suicidal.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 08:24 AM

15. Fired for caught sleeping in her office to keep warm; unable to pay electric bill.

You all have to read the rest of this despicable treatment of an old, frail woman by Duquesne. The writer, a labor lawyer/acquaintance of this old woman, details how he notified Duquesne via 2 written letters of her desperate plight. The university never deigned to reply. She was found dead in the front yard of her uninhabitable home - heart attack.

As amazing as it sounds, Margaret Mary, a 25-year professor, was not making ends meet. Even during the best of times, when she was teaching three classes a semester and two during the summer, she was not even clearing $25,000 a year, and she received absolutely no health care benefits. Compare this with the salary of Duquesne's president, who makes more than $700,000 with full benefits.

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.

The funeral Mass for Margaret Mary, a devout Catholic, was held at Epiphany Church, only a few blocks from Duquesne. The priest who said Mass was from the University of Dayton, another Catholic university and my alma mater. Margaret Mary was laid out in a simple, cardboard casket devoid of any handles for pallbearers -- a sad sight, but an honest symbol of what she had been reduced to by her ostensibly Catholic employer.


Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/perspectives/death-of-an-adjunct-703773/#ixzz2fL9xbBPS

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Divernan (Reply #15)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 08:48 AM

26. Wonder the Pope thinks of THIS?

I am encouraged to see the new Pope taking a hard line against many abuses of the church, but this is just another in a long, long, long line of shames on the Catholic Church specifically and religious organizations in general.

Religious asshats - worried about "life" until it is out of the womb, after that, you're on your own

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Moostache (Reply #26)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 08:55 AM

31. Hope this story gets enough publicity to come to his attention.

I believe it made Huffington Post last night and has been picked up by union newsletters in other states.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Divernan (Reply #15)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 09:23 AM

50. How very cruel and unfeeling

amerika has become. Well actually always has been , but the Nelsons, Donna Reed, Beaver all perpetuated the lie that amerika cares. Damn president of this university makes 700thousand dollars and WILL NOT take care of his own. Despicable! I fear at the bottom of this tragedy is the dollar bill and how to give more to the 1%'ers.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Divernan (Reply #15)

Fri Sep 20, 2013, 12:09 AM

153. This is such a horrific story.

This is not a civilized country; in a civilized country, health care is a right.

This story shows why we need health care as a basic human right.

It shows we need single-payer.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 08:29 AM

19. My sister is an adjunct

Being an adjunct is a horrible way to live. It's better than nothing, however, you are at the mercy of the college, praying that you get enough classes to pay the rent. My sis gets benefits only if she works so many hours, but then they cut her classes to only one and (surprise) no insurance. Now she teaches at three different colleges, which is a crazy schedule, and has purchased private insurance.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 08:30 AM

20. k/r

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 08:34 AM

21. Duquesne fighting unionization by adjuncts; claims religious exemption!

Of course, what the caseworker didn't understand was that Margaret Mary was an adjunct professor, meaning that, unlike a well-paid tenured professor, Margaret Mary worked on a contract basis from semester to semester, with no job security, no benefits and with a salary of between $3,000 and just over $3,500 per three-credit course. Adjuncts now make up well over 50 percent of the faculty at colleges and universities.

While adjuncts at Duquesne overwhelmingly voted to join the United Steelworkers union a year ago, Duquesne has fought unionization, claiming that it should have a religious exemption. Duquesne has claimed that the unionization of adjuncts like Margaret Mary would somehow interfere with its mission to inculcate Catholic values among its students.

This would be news to Georgetown University -- one of only two Catholic universities to make U.S. News & World Report's list of top 25 universities -- which just recognized its adjunct professors' union, citing the Catholic Church's social justice teachings, which favor labor unions.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/perspectives/death-of-an-adjunct-703773/#ixzz2fLD5HsS5

Then, if you can believe it, one of the replies to the Post Gazette article was from a Duquesne official, claiming the author of the article, a union attorney, (who had been acting pro bono for the old woman) was exploiting an old woman's death for union purposes. It was immediately noted by the next commenter that if anyone had exploited the deceased, it was Duquesne, and that exploitation had continued for 25 years!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Divernan (Reply #21)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 09:03 AM

36. It's a CATHOLIC COLLEGE?

Oh, goddess, I need to stop here. (Remembering the RCC's role in Proposition H8).

One more religion that talks the talk and never walks the walk. Goes for about 99% of all the religious people I've ever met as well.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Le Taz Hot (Reply #36)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 09:09 AM

39. In name only - no priests involved in major roles there.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Divernan (Reply #39)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 09:19 AM

46. So what is the Catholic affiliation?

There has to be SOME kind of affiliation doesn't there? Seems like I just had this debate with a DUer who claims the Bapstist College in which the girl committed suicide after giving birth to a stillborn alone was not really a Baptist College even though they were affiliated with Baptists. Someone needs to "splain this to me. And just for the record, I graduated from a private university run by the Mennonite Brethren and the professors WERE expected to be Christians. Not so the student body. They're happy to take any godless heathen's money (raises hand).

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Le Taz Hot (Reply #46)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 09:36 AM

57. Founded by order of priests who no longer have enough members to operate or staff it.

The administration is composed of Catholic laymen (few women). Rare to see a priest on campus. Most of the students are Catholics from lower SES backgrounds - often first generation of their families to go to college. Here's how the university flatteringly describes itself:

Education for the Mind, Heart and Spirit

One of the nation's top Catholic universities , Duquesne University provides a well-rounded education that will challenge you academically while nourishing your spiritual and ethical development. Founded more than 130 years ago by the Congregation of the Holy Spirit, Duquesne University is the only Spiritan institution of higher education in the United States. This means we share in the Spiritans' values and are deeply committed to:

Educational excellence
Moral and spiritual values
An ecumenical atmosphere open to diversity
Service to the Church, the community, the nation and the world

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Divernan (Reply #57)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 09:45 AM

61. "One of the nation's top Catholic univerisities."

But they're not Catholic? I'm not trying to be difficult here but I'm not seeing how they're not Catholic. Is that because there are not priests walking around campus? And I love this: ". . . committed to moral and spiritual values." How does that jibe with a 25-year ADJUNCT professor dying, basically, of poverty while the President makes $700,000 a year? Somebody wanna run that "moral and spiritual values" thingy by me again? (Rhetorical)

Again, not trying to be argumentative, but there's obviously something I'm not getting here.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Le Taz Hot (Reply #61)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 10:06 AM

67. By describing the school as Catholic in name only, I mean that neither administration nor faculty

reflect or embody the traditional teachings of Christ (disclaimer - on a good day, I'm an agnostic, but went to Catholic grade school, high school & 4 years at a Jesuit university - followed by 2 degrees at a state university). When deciding to go to law school at age 40, and being limited to a local law school, I (mistakenly) chose Duquesne over Pitt because Duquesne had both day and night law classes, offering more flexibility. I also expected the law classes to reflect some religious concern for welfare, social justice, etc. Hah! I never heard the phrase pro bono in or out of class my entire time there. Quite unlike my experience at a Jesuit university.

Really an uber-conservative, Opus Dei mind set. With rare exception, the faculty was comprised of Duquesne graduates who were very anti-intellectual. They are militantly "pro-life" anti-abortion and no discussion of the matter was allowed. As I mentioned in another post, when it came time to invite judges as guest speakers, we got the likes of Clarence Thomas, Alito and Scalia. The current law school dean made his bones with a book exploiting the Monica Lewinsky/Clinton debacle.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Divernan (Reply #67)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 05:43 PM

130. I teach at a Jesuit university, we have a really strong union, which the admin encouraged.

As adjuncts we have decent hourly pay and for those who are at the preferred level (experience, good reviews, and a formal application), medical insurance, retirement benefits and a 23% higher pay rate. One is still not guaranteed employment from semester to semester, which is about par for the course in modern day America. In spite of that, this seems to be the most stable, reliable employment I've ever enjoyed. Duquesne sounds like something straight out of Dickens.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to diane in sf (Reply #130)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 06:10 PM

132. Right on, Jebbies! Good to hear. No reason except greed that Duquesne couldn't do this.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Le Taz Hot (Reply #61)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 02:00 PM

112. Don't worry.

He's probably making 710,000/year now.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Divernan (Reply #57)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 12:53 PM

90. AKA The Holy Ghost Fathers

A repressive and backward (as if there could be any other kind) order of missionaries. The order has dwindled to just a few old men. Also associated with the Ultramontane split of about 50 years ago, for those familiar with Catholic history. The order survived, but many of its luminaries left to join a (more) right-wing splinter group.

I am acquainted with two former priests from this order. Neither has anything nice to say about it, or the Duquesne experience.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 08:34 AM

22. Regardless of profession, income, work history...

regardless of ANYTHING about you, this scenario should NEVER occur, EVER.

We have the collective wealth and resources to ensure that, don't we?

We need to be better than this. We really do.

(The, "Fuck Yeah", video is at once totally hilarious and disturbing. I laughed out loud.)

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 08:35 AM

23. k&r

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 08:47 AM

25. Penn State breathes sigh of relief; Duquesne now most reviled school in PA.

The current president is an arrogant man known for firing popular deans and professors, and doing so in very insulting ways. The university has been the target of multiple sex and race discrimination lawsuits by faculty members - which are traditionally settled for hefty fees accompanied by non-disclosure agreements.

In this particular instance, it is of note that President Dougherty (annual salary, $700,000) touts himself on the university website as a national scholar and expert in health care ethics! He is also a board member AND CHAIRMAN OF THE ETHICS COMMITTEE of the non-profit hospital which was dunning the deceased for payment for her cancer treatments. Some (not on DU, yet) have questioned why she could have big medical bills if she was old enough for Medicare. Simple. Medicare pays only 80%. Cancer treatments & surgery can run into hundreds of thousands of dollars. God forbid that "non-profit" UPMC-Mercy hospital should write off that 20 percent when a patient is indigent.

Dougherty (b. 1949) is a nationally recognized scholar and expert in health care ethics, and has served on numerous health care advisory commissions and projects. Most recently, Dougherty has worked with the Not-for-Profit Hospital Trustees Project at the Hastings Center and the New York Academy of Medicine, as well as the National Coalition on Catholic Health Care. He has served on the Board of Trustees of the Catholic Health Association and the Board of Editors at both Creighton University Press and Health Progress. Dougherty has also served as a Commissioner for the State of Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission, a government ethics panel.

He is a member of the board of directors of UPMC Mercy Hospital, where he chairs the Ethics Committee, the Senator John Heinz History Center, The Allegheny Conference on Community Development and the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh. He also serves on the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania (AICUP), the President's Committee of the Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education (PCHE) and the Atlantic 10 Council of Presidents

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 08:48 AM

27. Written by the attorney for the union trying to unionize the university...

...I'm taking this story with a grain of salt.

Nevertheless, it is still sad story when people reach the end of the life struggling to pay basic bills.

This story picks up at 83 years old and having worked at Duquesne for 25 years which means there could have been 30 working years prior to her employment before even starting part-time teaching work. To imply that her terrible financial end was Duquesne's fault seems a bit self-serving for this writer.

One would have thought that Duquesne would have connected her to charities or social services.




Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to aikoaiko (Reply #27)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 08:55 AM

30. Her story...

Sounds like a strong argument for a Labor Union at The University.

Slam-dunk, in fact.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to nikto (Reply #30)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 09:10 AM

40. Maybe so.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to aikoaiko (Reply #27)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 08:56 AM

32. A quarter of a century is not good enough

for an employer to do right by an employee, now? Your assertion is repugnant.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to My Good Babushka (Reply #32)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 09:16 AM

44. What is the right thing in this case?


Her attorney says she wanted them to pay her medical bill after they didn't rehire her after her contract was over.

How many organizations would do that?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to aikoaiko (Reply #44)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 09:33 AM

54. You don't use up

twenty five years of someone's life, work, and talent and leave them worse off than when they started. That such situations are condoned by corporations and academia and every large employer doesn't make it correct. I find it repugnant that you blame her for not preparing to have cancer thirty years ago. No one is ever prepared to tangle with the health care system in this country or take on issues of labor fairness while fighting a debilitating illness, no matter how much they've saved, that's why we struggle to maintain social safety nets, yet you zero in on how "irresponsible" she was. I rebuke that.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to My Good Babushka (Reply #54)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 09:40 AM

59. Ok, but I don't know what more to expect from part-time work on a semester contractual basis


Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to aikoaiko (Reply #44)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 09:44 AM

60. A severance package would have been a decent, honorable,"christian" thing to give her.

Say $1,000 for every semester they exploited her to make substantial profits.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Divernan (Reply #60)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 10:05 AM

66. That would be nice, but most universities don't offer severance packages to anyone.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to aikoaiko (Reply #66)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 10:15 AM

69. You asked what would be "right", not traditional or legally required.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Divernan (Reply #69)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 10:19 AM

71. "Right" is also in the context of policy and how organizations treats other employees.


I don't think those things are irrelevant to doing the "right thing".

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to aikoaiko (Reply #27)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 09:04 AM

37. Good for the attorney...What have you got against unions?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to whathehell (Reply #37)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 09:13 AM

42. Nothing, but I'm skeptical of obvious manipulation.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to aikoaiko (Reply #42)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 04:27 PM

119. It may be manipulation, but not necessarily..Do think the school is not doing "damage control"?

In any case, union or no, it's appalling that ANYONE should have to live like that at her age

Who does it matter what she did for the first twenty or thirty years?

Again, no one in this country should have to spend their last days like that.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to whathehell (Reply #119)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 04:52 PM

124. which is why I mentioned "grain of salt"


I agree that it is appalling that someone should have to live like that, but I'm not yet convinced it was the university's responsibility to prevent it.

When an adjunct is hired the terms are clear. No expectation of another appointment, no benefits, flat fee. Adjunct positions are not designed to be full-time positions which Duquesne has and many other Pittsburgh college's have.

Adjunct positions pay less because the responsibilities are far less than tenure-track positions.



Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to aikoaiko (Reply #27)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 09:07 AM

38. Atty. had represented her pro bono; women born in 1930 unlikely to have been big earners.

Keep in mind she was 83 - and how very hard it must have been for her to keep working, NEVER MISSING A CLASS, even when undergoing earlier cancer treatments.

Maybe at some point she DID have a regular job with health insurance - but not for the last TWENTY FIVE years. I do know she was never married, so never a joint income to help with costs. She had a degree in French, for god's sake = no big employment prospects there. And she was a woman who lived in a world & time where women were grossly underpaid. (Lily Ledbetter?) And perhaps, like me, she had managed to save money for her retirement, but lost it in the financial bubble crash debacle of 2007-8.

The adjuncts at Duquesne voted last year, overwhelmingly to unionize, but the university is fighting it. I am delighted that her story is being told and hope it is the lever for change. Pittsburghers are outraged and sickened, I know.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Divernan (Reply #38)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 09:16 AM

45. good points

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Divernan (Reply #38)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 09:20 AM

47. I think the university is being ridiculous to fight unionization.


I wonder what unions can do for adjuncts because by their very nature they work semester to semester, course by course.


Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to aikoaiko (Reply #27)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 09:22 AM

49. Egads! The fiendish cunning of these union lawyers and lobbyists!!

.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to aikoaiko (Reply #27)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 09:29 AM

53. Wow.

Talk about letting people see behind the mask. You have not a single clue and yet decide that her situation was her own fault.

I've never said this before, but welcome to my ignore list. Reading your post makes me wish I had brain bleach - I sure as hell won't make that mistake again.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to enlightenment (Reply #53)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 09:33 AM

55. I welcome your ignore list since you are incapable of discussing issues.


Is it really so wrong to say that the author may be manipulative?
Is it really so wrong to ask more questions?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to aikoaiko (Reply #55)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 09:52 AM

64. I think it's okay to ask questions, and look further into the story.

I did that in the thread yesterday, and apparently that makes me a horrible person.

I do wonder how we can better reach out to and help our seniors. This poor woman was destitute, even before Duquesne fired her. How do we combat that kind of extreme poverty? I wondered yesterday if she qualified for social security and medicare to help with bills - I guess I'm an unfeeling asshole for daring to ask about that.

But the question should be asked - there are resources that could have helped her but it sounds like she was rather proud and didn't want charity, if I'm reading into it correctly. Some older folks get that way. Poverty is nothing to be ashamed of, but when you have to work night shift at Eat 'N Park and sleep in your office because you can't heat your home, perhaps you should think about reaching out. My mother is elderly, living on a fixed income, and she keeps her house so cold in the winter. She's trying to stretch out her tank of propane because it's so expensive. But my siblings and I worry about her possibly getting hypothermia, going to bed and never waking up. We've offered to chip in and fill her propane tank as needed, but she refuses. Even if we went against her wishes and filled her tank anyway, she'd still keep the heat down. She's a proud and independent woman, and unless or until she can no longer take care of herself, there's basically nothing we can do.

I don't know what the answer is. It's a very kneejerk response to heap scorn and hate on Duquesne, although I find their actions to be despicable and more than worthy of criticism. The whole situation with adjuncts sounds terrible, and I'm glad they're getting unions involved. Duquesne's excuse for not wanting unions if fucking laughable, and directly contradicts the teachings of the church of my youth.

There is a bigger picture to be examined, however. This woman is not the only senior who is in dire straits. What is the solution? We are a big, compassionate country and there must be a better way.

I don't know, I'm talking to myself here, so maybe this doesn't make a lot of sense.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to aikoaiko (Reply #55)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 01:02 PM

95. Is it wrong to point out that

you sound like a union basher?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to kiva (Reply #95)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 02:04 PM

113. I support adjuncts unionizing, but I still don't like to be manipulated.


I can support unions and still ask questions to determine the responsibility of the person involved and the university.


Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to aikoaiko (Reply #27)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 09:38 AM

58. She was living on campus

According to one of the replies in the comments section of the original article.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to sammytko (Reply #58)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 10:09 AM

68. She died in her own front yard.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Divernan (Reply #68)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 10:15 AM

70. Maybe she went back to get something?

And maybe they were doing all they could to help her, but sometimes people, whether in their right mind or not, are resistant.

One poster said they were neighbors in the dorm residency.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to sammytko (Reply #58)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 06:49 PM

134. She lived "on campus" for a few weeks only, in a house with a priest & 3 seminarians.

From Father Walsh: "...she was invited to live with us in the formation community at Laval House on campus, where she resided for several weeks over the past year."

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/letters/duquesne-offered-aid-to-an-adjunct-professor-in-need-703896/#ixzz2fNiquDQT
Laval House is a 100 year old house on campus where said Father Walsh lives with 3 or 4 male undergraduates studying for the priesthood. I don't think this was an appropriate, or comfortable arrangement for an 83 year old woman.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Divernan (Reply #134)


Response to Divernan (Reply #134)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 07:10 PM

138. Picture of Laval House towards middle of entry

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacques-D%C3%A9sir%C3%A9_Laval

Deleted my other post because it was showing up weird.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to sammytko (Reply #138)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 07:20 PM

140. And your point is?

Yes, it's a pretty building. An elderly woman sharing a house with a bunch of male undergraduates? One bedroom for pirvacy, sharing a kitchen and bath, loud music, TV, noise levels when she needed to recuperate from cancer treatments? And as I think about this, and as a retired attorney who handled a lot of insurance cases, I'm sure the university attorney, if informed of the fact she was living there, would have pitched a fit because of liability exposure should she fall or suffer any injury while living there.

I had three teenagers at home at one time - good kids, but no way in hell would I subject a frail, 83 year old woman to that fast paced activity level and environment.

Oh yes, and the steep staircases in those old houses - not good for old, elderly folks.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Divernan (Reply #140)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 08:11 PM

143. It is a home for priests..

My cousin is a Catholic priest - not exactly the partying type, but a great person.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to aikoaiko (Reply #27)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 12:12 PM

81. wow--just. . . .wow

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 09:00 AM

34. It sickens me how we treat the Senior members of our Society

I attempted to get senior living for my father. There are three
low income senior living places in my home town.
They told me if he made less than 1100.00 a month he could live free. If he made more than 1100 per month the cost would be $1800 per month. My father makes just above 1100.00 and he has property which they factor in.

I asked the lady why not have a sliding scale where if you make over 1100 but less than 1800 you pay the difference. She said unfortunately it doesn't work that way.

Meanwhile my father's house was becoming too much for him to care for. I did come down in 2008 and spent a week hanging drywall, cleaning, and painting and repairing. but I was alone my Hubby couldn't join me, and my father couldn't help. Unfortunately I can't drop everything and do that anymore, I was not working in 2008 so I was able to do that then.

My home town has a law, that if your house is ruled a Blythe house they can just step in take it from you, and sell it to someone else and you get nothing.
Needless to say there are a lot of Elderly homeowners getting letters that tell them they have 30 days to fix everything wrong with their house or lose them.

Fortunately, my father found a place he could afford. It is assisted living but he gets to keep driving, so he is able to return to his home and manage the lawn. and I think as long as he keeps the lawn mowed and hedges trimmed the city can't say anything.

However, There has to be a better way we can treat people than punishing them for not being able to mow the lawn any more.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 09:25 AM

51. This is so sad....it is a disgrace that this poor woman was stripped of her dignity

She led a good life as a good member of society and she had to go through this....this is a society that has lost it's way...sorry but this country is fucked...

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 09:34 AM

56. K&R, w/disgust and sadness. Thank you, xchrom. n/t

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 09:45 AM

62. So....

WHERE THE FUCK DOES ALL THE TUITION MONEY GO?????????????????????

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 09:49 AM

63. This is the first post I read this morning.

Made me cry. Made me wish she had been my neighbor so I could have fed her and helped her get by.

Someone upthread said they were skeptical because of possible manipulation by the author. Don't care, this woman should never have had to live this way. They trusted her to educate their students for years and then kicked her to the curb repeatedly. Even without that, nobody should have to spend their elderly years this way.

I've known some really horrible people in my life and yet none of them would ever deserve this kind of treatment.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to MuseRider (Reply #63)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 09:53 AM

65. i think you summed that up very well. nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to MuseRider (Reply #63)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 12:28 PM

84. They can't dispute the facts.

Many of her students in the comments mention that they knew she had cancer while she was teaching.

And all of us who are adjuncts now how precarious our existence is.

It warms my heart to see so many recs on this article and haters are going on ignore. I can't live my life and read bs too.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 10:24 AM

72. Why was she not on Social Security and Medicare?

Or did I miss something here?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Brigid (Reply #72)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 10:27 AM

73. She may have been. Might not have been enough. Nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Brigid (Reply #72)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 01:15 PM

103. As a woman of 83, she may have always been seriously underpaid, so

her SS may have been seriously low...and the medicare is a fixed amount, so she would have been left with the 20% to pay out of pocket (cancer care is very costly)...and it sounds to me like she tried desperately to hang onto a home that took way too much of her meager resources.

It's sad that she had no younger family members who could have helped her out.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 10:37 AM

74. Somebody should spray paint Matthew 25:40 all over that campus, and the univ. Prez' car.

Fuckers.


"And the King will say, 'I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!'

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 10:58 AM

75. There Must Be More to This Story?

Glass Ceiling? Underpaid females? Poor money management? No retirement benefits can't be possible. Duquesne U. please comment.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to gussmith (Reply #75)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 12:03 PM

80. They made a statement on their facebook page.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to sammytko (Reply #80)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 12:31 PM

86. Facts

Facebook isn't a news organization so I remain uninformed.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 11:32 AM

77. How very sad

I received my B.S. degree from Duquesne in 1975. It was a Catholic College and that is why my parents wanted me to go there - I had 16 years of Catholic education. I am as liberal as a person can be and I feel that much of it comes from my educational background. I never learned anything about the Old Testament only the teachings of Jesus in the New Testament, take care of your neighbor, do unto others, etc. I learned to question authority and about ethical behavior.
I don't know what has happened in the intervening years. I told the last caller wanting money that if they continued to bring in speakers like the right wing of the Supreme Court they did not need to waste their time on me. I haven't received another call. I write letters to the campus paper when they sing the praises of these jerks. I cannot believe that a 25 year professor leaves with nothing. Tuition is not cheap. This is not the school that I attended.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 12:14 PM

82. My heart just broke

A little bit more.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 12:29 PM

85. I worked at Duquesne from 1990–1992.

I was a teaching assistant there, and I can tell you that they overwork you and underpay you for the privilege of earning a Master's degree. My final semester there, I worked for FIVE professors, corrected their papers and tests after I got home from grad school at night, stayed up until four in the morning doing their work, was lucky to find time to study and do my own assignments, and earned a $2000 stipend for that semester. There were also many days I showed up at school to find out I had 15 minutes to prepare for teaching a class of 200 students because the professor was behind in his or her latest "publish or perish" paper and didn't feel like lecturing that day.

The next year, after I graduated, my college there actually implemented the "Rob Rule," named after me, so that no graduate student would ever be overwhelmed like I was. As I read this story about Margaret Mary, it seems to me that the darker underbelly of the university hasn't changed a bit, all these years later.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Efilroft Sul (Reply #85)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 01:02 PM

96. I almost quit my MA due to similar shit

And of course the 10th draft is the first.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 12:35 PM

87. K&R - it is critical that we tell & re-tell these stories. nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to TBF (Reply #87)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 12:55 PM

92. Agreed.

You could not be more correct. There are some out there that can be reached, whose hearts have not hardened past the point of ever caring again.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 12:58 PM

94. Would not happen in France

or a number of other states. That's just horrible. That poor woman! DAMMIT!!! Got me . Oh how sad!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 01:03 PM

97. Covered by the "cloak of religion" the school probably gave little of no health benefits, no employe

protections etc. Just why they are fighting against ACA which will force them to do more than they are doing.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink



Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 01:09 PM

99. why was she not collecting social security?

Adjunct, non-union or not, she would have been paying into social security while she was working. And could have been earning the small amount she was, plus collecting SSN and been on Medicare. While the SSN may have been low, it likely would have at least doubled the stated income in the article.

"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."

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to magical thyme (Reply #99)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 07:07 PM

137. You are SO wrong about social security! I'll repeat what I've posted elsewhere in this thread.

Last year, the average soc. sec. check was $1200. That's AVERAGE. There's no reason to believe this elderly woman, with a degree in French, whose prime working years were in the days when women were traditionally and severely underpaid, made the kind of money made by those receiving the average social security Factor in the retired professionals 20 years younger than this woman who are collecting $2500 or more,( plus their stay-at-home, never worked spouses are entitled to another 50%, so the household is getting $3,750 a month). I have worked with elderly widows of firemen and policemen - women the age of Margaret Mary, and they were struggling on $400 to $500 a month. As to Medicare, are you not aware that you have to enroll in medicare and Part B alone requires premiums of $104 per month, plus deductibles and co-pays and does not cover eyeglasses, dental care or hearing aids?

"Non-profits" such as Duquesne and other Catholic grade schools, high schools and colleges, did not participate in social security until 1975. She entered the work force just at the end of WW II, when hundreds of thousands of vets returned home and women were tossed out of the high-paying factory jobs and relegated to typewriters. Good bye Rosie the Riveter, hello the world of Mad Men and Lilly Ledbetter.


(FROM MY EARLIER POST ON THIS THREAD)
The average social security right now is a little over $1200 a month, minus about $104 a month for Medicare Part B. THAT'S the AVERAGE. For every retired professional engineer/business exec taking home $2500 a month in Soc. Sec., there are others, especially older recipients receiving just a few hundred a month. I had occasion to work with widows of police and firemen (some of whom had died in the line of duty) who were in their 70's & 80's, and they were trying to survive on under $500 a month. They only got by through the charity of family members.

Medicare only pays 80 percent of medical bills (and NOT hearing aids, eyeglasses, dental work). This women had recently suffered a RECURRENCE of cancer. I think we all know that fees for cancer treatments easily run into a hundred thousand dollars or more.


Medicare Part A

Part A is your hospital coverage.

Premium costs. If you or your spouse worked for at least 10 years and paid Medicare taxes, you won't pay any monthly fee, called a premium, for Part A. Most people don’t pay a premium.

If you or your spouse paid Medicare taxes for less than 10 years total, you will have to pay a monthly fee for Part A coverage. In 2013, the cost was as much as $441 a month.

Deductible costs. If you stay overnight in the hospital or use other Part A services, you'll pay a deductible. The deductible is the amount you must pay before Medicare pays anything for your care.

For 2013, the deductible for a hospital stay is $1,184.

Copay costs. You also pay copays for Part A. It's a set amount you pay for specific types of care. If you're in the hospital for more than 60 days, your copay is $296 a day for days 61 to 90. After that, your copay is $592 a day.

Medicare Part B

Part B is for your doctor visits, tests, and other services.

Premium costs: Each month you pay a premium of $104.90. If your income is higher than $85,000, you have to pay a higher premium. How much you make determines how much you pay, ranging from $146.90 to $335.70.

Deductible costs: You also pay a $147 deductible each year. After you pay it, you pay coinsurance, which is 20% of your medical costs.

Penalties: If you don't sign up for Part B when you first become eligible, you may have to pay a penalty if you did not have health insurance through an employer or union.

Medicare Part D

Part D is your prescription drug coverage.

Premium costs. The monthly fee you pay varies by the plan you choose. The average premium for the last 3 years has been $30, and in 2014, it's predicted the average will be $31. If you have a higher income, you may pay more each month. In 2013, households with income of more than $170,000 or individuals with income greater than $85,000 will pay between $11.60 and $66.60 more per month.

Deductible costs: Each year you pay a deductible before Medicare starts sharing the cost for your medicines. Although the deductible may vary from plan to plan, no plan may charge more than $325 in 2013. In 2014, the maximum will be $310.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Divernan (Reply #137)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 08:37 PM

144. Well excuse me for not knowing the specifics of Duquesne and other Catholic schools


And save your outrage for somebody else. Go eff yourself before slamming me. And welcome to ignore.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to magical thyme (Reply #144)

Fri Sep 20, 2013, 03:28 AM

156. Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses? The treadmill? The poor houses?

That does take all, folks! I've been put on ignore for posting the costs of Medicare and correcting a poster's mistaken assumptions about Social security! It is very sad that some (and not just the person I corrected) not only have misconceptions about the limits of medicare and social security, but are so frightened of aging without adequate support or medical care, that they lash out at the message bearer. Charles Dickens weeps!

In A Christmas Carol (December 1843) charity collectors approach Scrooge:

"At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge," said the gentleman, taking up a pen, "it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and Destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir."

"Are there no prisons?" asked Scrooge.

"Plenty of prisons," said the gentleman, laying down the pen again.

"And the Union workhouses?" demanded Scrooge. "Are they still in operation?"

"They are. Still," returned the gentleman, "I wish I could say they were not."

"The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?" said Scrooge.

Later, the Spirit of Christmas Present mocks Scrooge's former insensitivity by hurling his own words back at him as he regards the appalling children of humanity, Ignorance and Want:

They were a boy and girl. Yellow, meagre, ragged, scowling, wolfish; but prostrate, too, in their humility. Where graceful youth should have filled their features out, and touched them with its freshest tints, a stale and shrivelled hand, like that of age, had pinched and twisted them, and pulled them into shreds. Where angels might have sat enthroned devils lurked, and glared out menacing. No change, no degradation, no perversion of humanity, in any grade, through all the mysteries of wonderful creation, has monsters half so horrible and dread.

Scrooge started back, appalled. Having them shown to him in this way, he tried to say they were fine children, but the words choked themselves, rather than be parties to a lie of such enormous magnitude.

“Spirit! are they yours?” Scrooge could say no more.

“They are Man's,” said the Spirit, looking down upon them. “And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree; but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased. Deny it!” cried the Spirit, stretching out its hand towards the city. “Slander those who tell it ye! Admit it for your factious purposes, and make it worse! And bide the end!”

“Have they no refuge or resource?” cried Scrooge.

“Are there no prisons?” said the Spirit, turning on him for the last time with his own words. “Are there no workhouses?”

The bell struck twelve.

The timing of the scene, at the very conclusion of the Second Spirit's magic lantern show, may well imply that time is running out for humanity to find a solution to these twin perils. At Christmas 1843 Dickens's readers would have known full well to what dire social problems the writer was alluding, for the visages of Ignorance and Want were before them daily in England's streets.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 01:10 PM

100. I have considered teaching.

Even applied to a few adjunct positions. But we realize it will be for satisfaction, and extra spending money. The pay is horrendous. When Cali raises the minimum, McDonald's will pay better, I wish I were kidding.

We as a society speak a good game on education, but words don't feed people, nor do they keep a roof over their head. This is not just this Catholic university. It is all over, state schools, like my Alma Mater, treat adjuncts like cheap, non-organized labor, emphasis on cheap. So does the Catholic university up the hill, the UC school, and the for profits. In fact, the for profits prefer adjuncts to tenure.

The Junior Colleges have a majority adjunct staff, again they prefer it. It's cheaper.

So the end result is that good people do it as a hobby only if they can afford it. Not that all adjuncts are bad, but sooner or later you are reduced to young idealistic kids or old retirees.

So when we are told, Americans need to get a college education, I say make it so where your average prof, likely an adjunct, will get medical, dental, and at least clear 30K a year.

Locally our college profs are on food stamps and medical, no choice.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 02:28 PM

114. As several others have pointed out,

there's a lot missing from this story.

If she was 83, had been teaching there for twenty-five years, she started teaching at the age of 58. I suppose it's possible she had never worked until then, but not entirely likely. Where was Social Security and Medicare in this equation? And the well known inclination of too many people, also mentioned in this thread, to be too proud to seek help. What would Adult Protective Services have done for her? Given her a safe place to stay? If so, why didn't she accept their services?

I'm not letting Duquesne completely off the hook, but still, there is much more than we've been told.

As an aside, in my youth I gave serious consideration to becoming a college professor, but when I learned that women were routinely paid a lot less than the men, I decided I wasn't willing to put up with that nonsense. I also have known my share of adjuncts over the years as I've attended college on and off my entire adult life, and I wonder why so many of them do it. They'd make better money at WallyWorld, and there are lots of other options out there. Perhaps if the colleges faced a genuine crisis in hiring enough teachers, they'd finally start paying more. Who knows?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to SheilaT (Reply #114)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 04:23 PM

118. I myself am a "professional student". I love taking classes

Anyway, had one English Lit professor tell us that Texas saved his life.

He was from New York City. Had a liberal arts degree. No one would hire him. Even contemplated suicide. He had to come down here to find work. He is one of few full time "professors" at the small community college campus.

He loves it now, but told us it was hard to get established.

A catholic university in the city (san Antonio), shut down several degree programs because there were no future employment opportunities, well except teaching, and you know how that goes.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to SheilaT (Reply #114)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 04:42 PM

120. Weren't "non-profits" like Duquesne exempt from participatinag in Soc. Sec. until 1975?

I agree, we don't have her life employment history. I do know that she was never married. And I know she was born in 1930 - Few women born in 1930 went to college. If they did, it was with the idea to get their MRS. degree, and they majored in genteel subjects in the liberal arts - maybe nursing, or "domestic science", i.e., home economics, i.e, with very low earning potential. There was NO career counseling. She was 16 at the end of WW II - in which over 300,000 American men were killed (reducing marriage prospects for women by that number) and hundreds of thousand of returning vets took back well paying jobs women had filled during the war. Buh-bye, Rosie the Riveter, hello Lilly Ledbetter/Mad Men.

I suspect you are so young you don't have actual experience with how Medicare works - what it covers and what it doesn't; what it doesn't; that people have to enroll in it and pay a monthly premium of $104 for Part B -I'll put all that in at the end of this post.

The average social security right now is a little over $1200 a month, minus about $104 a month for Medicare Part B. THAT'S the AVERAGE. For every retired professional engineer/business exec taking home $2500 a month in Soc. Sec., there are others, especially older recipients receiving just a few hundred a month. I had occasion to work with widows of police and firemen (some of whom had died in the line of duty) who were in their 70's & 80's, and they were trying to survive on under $500 a month. They only got by through the charity of family members.

Medicare only pays 80 percent of medical bills (and NOT hearing aids, eyeglasses, dental work). This women had recently suffered a RECURRENCE of cancer. I think we all know that fees for cancer treatments easily run into a hundred thousand dollars or more.


Medicare Part A

Part A is your hospital coverage.

Premium costs. If you or your spouse worked for at least 10 years and paid Medicare taxes, you won't pay any monthly fee, called a premium, for Part A. Most people don’t pay a premium.

If you or your spouse paid Medicare taxes for less than 10 years total, you will have to pay a monthly fee for Part A coverage. In 2013, the cost was as much as $441 a month.

Deductible costs. If you stay overnight in the hospital or use other Part A services, you'll pay a deductible. The deductible is the amount you must pay before Medicare pays anything for your care.

For 2013, the deductible for a hospital stay is $1,184.

Copay costs. You also pay copays for Part A. It's a set amount you pay for specific types of care. If you're in the hospital for more than 60 days, your copay is $296 a day for days 61 to 90. After that, your copay is $592 a day.

Medicare Part B

Part B is for your doctor visits, tests, and other services.

Premium costs: Each month you pay a premium of $104.90. If your income is higher than $85,000, you have to pay a higher premium. How much you make determines how much you pay, ranging from $146.90 to $335.70.

Deductible costs: You also pay a $147 deductible each year. After you pay it, you pay coinsurance, which is 20% of your medical costs.

Penalties: If you don't sign up for Part B when you first become eligible, you may have to pay a penalty if you did not have health insurance through an employer or union.

Medicare Part D

Part D is your prescription drug coverage.

Premium costs. The monthly fee you pay varies by the plan you choose. The average premium for the last 3 years has been $30, and in 2014, it's predicted the average will be $31. If you have a higher income, you may pay more each month. In 2013, households with income of more than $170,000 or individuals with income greater than $85,000 will pay between $11.60 and $66.60 more per month.

Deductible costs: Each year you pay a deductible before Medicare starts sharing the cost for your medicines. Although the deductible may vary from plan to plan, no plan may charge more than $325 in 2013. In 2014, the maximum will be $310.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Divernan (Reply #120)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 11:03 PM

148. I have my Medicare Part A card, thank you very much.

I'm still working but don't need Part B or D at the present time.

And if she was never married, surely she worked. And 1975 was somewhat more than 25 years ago, and this woman had been teaching at Duquesne, if I understood the original post correctly, for 25 years.

But yes, I understand how devastatingly expensive medical care is in this country, especially for something like cancer. I work in a hospital.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 03:33 PM

115. Duquesne's Response on Facebook:

Yesterday an op-ed piece appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, purporting to describe certain circumstances preceding the death of adjunct instructor, Margaret Mary Vojtko. This piece was authored by Daniel Kovalik, a United Steelworkers lawyer, and was met with shock and dismay by the many individuals in our community who, with great compassion, attempted to support Margaret Mary during a ver...y difficult time in her life. Margaret Mary taught as an adjunct for over 20 years at Duquesne, and had numerous close relationships on our campus. Despite the assertions made in the op-ed piece, individuals across the University community attempted to help Margaret Mary through her last trying days. Spiritan priests, support staff, and University and McAnulty College administrators reached out to assist Margaret Mary with the challenges she faced. Father Dan Walsh, University Chaplain and Director of Campus Ministry, was personally involved in helping Margaret Mary. The following letter from Fr. Dan, published in today’s Post-Gazette, expresses his feelings about the inaccuracies in the op-ed piece:

"I was incredulous after reading Daniel Kovalik's op-ed piece about Margaret Mary Vojtko. I knew Margaret Mary well. When we learned of problems with her home she was invited to live with us in the formation community at Laval House on campus, where she resided for several weeks over the past year. Over the course of Mary's illness I, along with other Spiritan priests, visited her regularly. In addition, the University and the Spiritan priests at Duquesne offered several types of assistance to her. Mr. Kovalik's use of an unfortunate death to serve an alternative agenda is sadly exploitive, and is made worse by his description of the circumstances that bear no resemblance to reality."

As the administrator responsible for communications, I can describe the feedback we have received in response to Mr. Kovalik's op-ed as falling into two categories. The first category includes individuals who have been intimately involved and familiar with the situation, and who immediately recognized this op-ed as a reckless attempt to use Margaret Mary Vojtko's death as a means to further the self-interest of Mr. Kovalik's external organization. These individuals have expressed both outrage and sadness that Margaret Mary has been used in this way. Then there are those with no direct knowledge of the actual circumstances. They have also expressed outrage, using social media to attack Duquesne based on their acceptance of Mr. Kovalik's published mischaracterizations. Our defense is the truth. Mr. Kovalik has tried to frame this as an issue of human resources policy, but he is wrong. The support provided and offered to Margaret Mary Vojtko was broad, involving the Spiritan community, student housing, EAP, campus police, facilities management, and her faculty and staff colleagues. It was wholly unrelated to her employment status or classification, or to any issues of adjunct unionization. This was not a case of human resources policy, but one of concern for a human being - the type of concern and care that those in the Duquesne community have shown for each other for generations.

-- John Plante, Vice President for University Advancement, Duquesne University

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Hissyspit (Reply #115)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 03:34 PM

116. The author of the original piece's response to Duquesne's reponse:

http://www.duqsm.com/du-slammed-over-treatment-of-adjunct/

Kovalik said the University “doesn’t dispute my account at all.”

“They simply claim that, in lieu of a living wage and benefits, they offered her intermittent charity and prayers as a salve to her impoverishment,” Kovalik said.

Vojtko, who died from complications of a heart attack she suffered in August, taught French courses before the school told her she would not return for the fall semester.

Family and friends said Vojtko could not afford to fix a broken furnace in her home and frequently spent nights at an Eat n’ Park. On one instance, she was escorted off campus after officials found her sleeping.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Hissyspit (Reply #115)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 04:50 PM

123. "Not related to her employment status"?!?! The school fucking fired her!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Hissyspit (Reply #115)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 06:48 PM

133. How about "reaching out to assist her" with health insurance, or better pay?

"Broad" support, my ass.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Hissyspit (Reply #115)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 07:15 PM

139. Slimy, weasel-worded response.

-He "knew Margaret Mary well"

So fucking what?

-"...she was invited to live...at Laval House..."

Instead of her own home, which she was just supposed to abandon, I guess. In any case, I can just imagine what conditions were included in the "invitation".

-"...visited her regularly...offered several types of assistance..."

Horseshit. What she needed was a decent retirement and decent health care, neither of which these weasels were going to provide. I hate corporatist lie-speak and that is what this is.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to mn9driver (Reply #139)

Fri Sep 20, 2013, 10:18 AM

158. "knew her well" and still, she was in desperate straits. laval house has several male seminary

students and a priest. oh, I can see this very ill senior woman being comfortable there. "visitied her regularly. . offered assistance" how about seeing that her utilities were on, her furnace fixed, she had enough to eat, and some decent health care.

somewhere along the line, this catholic university forgot the teachings of their jesus.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 03:48 PM

117. Kick this out to the world.....

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 04:57 PM

125. After I received my PhD...

I worked adjunct for a couple of years while I applied to every opening that I was qualified for. Got two interviews but no offers. Now I'm working a job that didn't require a PhD.

But I'm lucky to be working...

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 04:58 PM

126. Unlike Duquesne, Georgetown U.cites Catholic Church's teachings as favoring labor unions.

Georgetown University -- one of only two Catholic universities to make U.S. News & World Report's list of top 25 universities -- which just recognized its adjunct professors' union, citing the Catholic Church's social justice teachings, which favor labor unions.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 05:04 PM

128. I read this yesterday in the Post Gazette.

It broke my heart.

It's kind of scary to read on this thread how many people don't realize that Medicare doesn't cover everything. If seniors don't have a good supplemental policy, they're screwed.

The actual restaurant where Margaret Mary was working at night is called Eat 'n Park. Alternet got the name wrong---it's no matter. The story is tragic any way one looks at it.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to blue neen (Reply #128)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 07:26 PM

141. So right re Medicare, and they also think Social Security is at least $1,000 a month.

Not so, especially for women in their 80's. What frosts me is that Duquesne's President, collecting $700,000 a year is on the Board of Directors of UPMC-Mercy - the very hospital hounding her to pay medical bills. AND he's head of the Board's Ethics Committee!

I say, let Duquesne appoint a Spiritan priest as president. He'd have taken a vow of poverty, and that would save the University a cool $650,000 per year right off the bat!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Divernan (Reply #141)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 07:44 PM

142. Yep. Right there at UPMC, the hospital system that is tax exempt.

It's deplorable.

Ethics committee, eh? That's almost an oxymoron considering the players involved.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 05:05 PM

129. That's the reality of academia in the US

More and more professors are of the "adjunct" type that can be easily exploited because they have fixed term contracts. Anything corporations touch, health, education, energy and so on, turns to crap because the only metric is profit.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 05:54 PM

131. Let her die!!

"Are you saying society should just let him die?" and the tea party crowd cheered, some shouting, "Yes!"

Paul reiterated his position afterward on Twitter: "The individual, private charity, families, and faith based orgs should take care of people, not the government."

GOP debate with Ron Paul. 2011.

Thank Gawd she didn't suck off the public teat! Freedumb! "Merica!




Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 11:08 PM

149. Duquesne is a Catholic University!

What's even more horrible is that Duquesne University (my late father's Alma Mater) is a Catholic institution. They should have taken care of her rather than just cut her loose like she was a piece of trash.

I'll bet that the University administrators show up at her funeral and cry crocodile tears.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to AnnieBW (Reply #149)

Fri Sep 20, 2013, 03:32 AM

157. The priest who officiated at her funeral was not from Duquesne.

And her coffin was made of cardboard and lacked handles for pallbearers.

From the OP link:
"The funeral Mass for Margaret Mary, a devout Catholic, was held at Epiphany Church, only a few blocks from Duquesne. The priest who said Mass was from the University of Dayton, another Catholic university and my alma mater. Margaret Mary was laid out in a simple, cardboard casket devoid of any handles for pallbearers -- a sad sight, but an honest symbol of what she had been reduced to by her ostensibly Catholic employer."

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/perspectives/death-of-an-adjunct-703773/#ixzz2fPqczTmn

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Divernan (Reply #157)

Fri Sep 20, 2013, 10:23 AM

159. the original story was heartbreaking enough, but hearing about the funeral is beyond sad and

disgusting and horrible.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 11:15 PM

151. such a sad story

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread