HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » Latest Breaking News (Forum) » Duquesne disputes claims ...

Fri Sep 20, 2013, 04:28 AM

Duquesne disputes claims over death of adjunct professor

Last edited Fri Sep 20, 2013, 10:14 AM - Edit history (1)

This discussion thread was locked as off-topic by azurnoir (a host of the Latest Breaking News forum).

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

An op-ed piece Wednesday in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recounting the death of a longtime Duquesne University adjunct professor fueled online anger nationally over conditions facing low-paid temporary instructors but was criticized by the school as misleading and exploitative.

The column involved Margaret Mary Vojtko, 83, who taught French at Duquesne University for 25 years before being let go this spring. After she died Sept. 1, Daniel Kovalik, senior associate general counsel of the United Steelworkers, the union currently in a fight to organize adjunct instructors at Duquesne, wrote the piece.

Mr. Kovalik wrote of the near-homeless woman's battle with cancer, of her struggles as a semester-to-semester hire earning as little as $10,000 a year, and of her death following a heart attack not long after losing her job with no severance or retirement benefits.

Online, the column went viral, attracting more than 171,000 page views on the newspaper's website, 50,000-plus Facebook likes and almost 1,500 comments from readers across the U.S. and overseas



Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/news/education/duquesne-disputes-claims-over-death-of-adjunct-professor-704143/



My comment to the PG on this article:
Duquesne's provision of housing translates to letting her spend a "few weeks" in an all male house with a priest and undergraduate seminarians. Kind of Father Walsh to offer that, but hardly appropriate for a frail 83 year old female. I doubt he cleared that with the university in advance - the legal dept. would have had serious concerns re liability issues. Were those few weeks during last winter when she couldn't afford to have her furnace repaired so was working nights at Eat 'n Park and trying to sleep during the day in a heated university office - until reported to the campus police and thrown out of the building?

Duquesne has operated out of pure, and very un-Christian greed in this matter. Witness other, far more prestigious and higher ranked Catholic universities have strongly supported unionization of adjunct professors. The original article describes Georgetown, a Jesuit university: "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."

And I received the following comment from an adjunct professor at the Jesuit University of San Francisco: "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."

If Duquesne's concern is saving money, why not replace it's current lay president, raking in $700,000 per year plus benefits, with a . . . wait for it . . . priest! They do still take vows of poverty and that would save Duquesne well over half a million per year right there. It is supremely ironic that the current president sits on UPMC-Mercy's board of directors and heads the board's Ethics Committee. That's the hospital dunning Miss Vojtko for the portion of her cancer treatment bills not covered by Medicare. Duquesne & UPMC - two "non-profits" serving(?) the community! Charles Dickens weeps.

The only bright light in this story is for Penn State's administration - now replaced in the news by Duquesne as the most reviled university in the Commonwealth.

8 replies, 1949 views

Cannot reply in locked threads

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 8 replies Author Time Post
Reply Duquesne disputes claims over death of adjunct professor (Original post)
Divernan Sep 2013 OP
another_liberal Sep 2013 #1
dotymed Sep 2013 #2
Divernan Sep 2013 #3
Gidney N Cloyd Sep 2013 #5
Divernan Sep 2013 #7
beerandjesus Sep 2013 #4
NJCher Sep 2013 #6
azurnoir Sep 2013 #8

Response to Divernan (Original post)

Fri Sep 20, 2013, 07:07 AM

1. What a scam!

The University President takes in seven hundred grand a year, but they pay faculty ten thousand! And they have the gall to call themselves an institution of higher learning? At least there's a pretty good chance that thieving bastard will lose his job too.

Cannot reply in locked threads

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to another_liberal (Reply #1)

Fri Sep 20, 2013, 07:16 AM

2. +1000 a preist paid $700,000 + annually...

I am not advocating paying non-elites less but this is very excessive and not in line with a vow of poverty.

Cannot reply in locked threads

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to dotymed (Reply #2)

Fri Sep 20, 2013, 07:36 AM

3. The current president is a layman, not a priest.

That's why I suggest replacing a the current LAY (meaning, not a member of a religious order) president with a priest.

Cannot reply in locked threads

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to another_liberal (Reply #1)

Fri Sep 20, 2013, 10:50 AM

5. Pay for higher admin and especially president positions are insane.

From the most prestigious universities to the local community colleges the pay is unjustifiable. Not saying these are easy jobs but (and I say this as someone who has spent a lifetime in higher ed) it ain't 'rocket surgery.' I wish I could share video of some of the meetings I attend-- you'd think it was an Onion News documentary.

Cannot reply in locked threads

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Gidney N Cloyd (Reply #5)

Fri Sep 20, 2013, 01:09 PM

7. You are so right about the meetings, at all levels of the universities.

Pro-forma, pre-scripted and everyone sucking up to whomever's running the meeting, whether it's the faculty sucking up to the department chair, or the department chairs sucking up to the college dean, or the college deans sucking up to the u. president.
If tenured and tenure-stream, full-time faculty had academic integrity, and/or "collegiality" with other members of their respective disciplines/professions, they would speak up in behalf of the exploited graduate student teaching fellows and teaching assistants, and adjunct faculty. Instead it is one recurrent budget battle over dividing up the bucks, devil take the hindmost. My older brother had a Ph.D. in engineering and taught at Purdue before going on to work for major corporations (General Electric/Upjohn Pharmaceutical). He said the political infighting in academia was far more vicious than in corporations.

Cannot reply in locked threads

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Divernan (Original post)

Fri Sep 20, 2013, 08:29 AM

4. Awesome response!

Thanks for posting!

Cannot reply in locked threads

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Divernan (Original post)

Fri Sep 20, 2013, 12:53 PM

6. terrific response, divernan

I hope the 700k a year schmuck reads it.

Cher

Cannot reply in locked threads

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Divernan (Original post)

Fri Sep 20, 2013, 01:10 PM

8. sorry locking

by consensus of LBN hosts , would be fine in GD where the article it's about is though

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10023694356

Cannot reply in locked threads

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink