How higher education fails adjuncts

Tim Goral's picture

The death of a longtime, part-time professor in Pittsburgh is gathering the attention nationwide.

Margaret Mary Vojtko, an 83-year-old adjunct French professor, spent 25 years teaching French at Duquesne University. She died earlier this month from complications resulting from a massive heart attack, although she was also battling cancer. She had no health insurance, no heat in her home, and for the first time in 25 years, no job.

Last spring, Duquesne told Vojtko that it would not renew her teaching contract that paid her about $10,000 a year. Vojtko, who had very high medical bills due to her illness, could not afford to keep heating her home and had been sleeping in her office at the school. When the school discovered what she'd been doing, they asked her to leave.

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