Poverty wages

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The Rev. Daniel Walsh's response, as a member of Duquesne University, to the article detailing the death of Margaret Mary Vojtko ("Death of an Adjunct: Margaret Mary Died Underpaid and Underappreciated," Sept. 18 Perspectives) is both offensive and disgusting.

First, the university fails to pay a living wage that would have allowed Ms. Vojtko to save for retirement, medical issues or even pay to heat her house. Then, that the same university that exploited her service and dedication as an educator claims the moral high ground by "helping" her in the final months of her life is appalling.

If Duquesne had been just to her all the years she was employed, there would have been no need to offer the pittance of assistance the Rev. Walsh discusses.

Ms. Vojtko was like many other adjuncts, myself included, who teach more than a full-time schedule simply to stay afloat for less than a tenth of what a full-time professor is compensated. So while administrators sit in plush offices, have personal assistants and draw a salary in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, real educators like me (and Ms. Vojtko) draw a salary below the poverty line. Imagine that -- a Catholic institution committed to "Catholic social justice" fails to live up to its own creed.

I have used language like "appalled," "disgusting" and "offensive." Most people will recognize Duquesne as simply "more of the same" from modern-day religious institutions. Talk a good talk that applies to everyone else while exempting oneself all the same.

The writer is a member of the part-time faculty of the theology department at Duquesne University.



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