ACT | September 29, 2015
Today we share with you a recent poignant article written in Seattle Magazine about the life and times of the late Seattle University professor, David Heller. Click here to read it.
Professor Heller passed away suddenly nearly a year ago, leaving many students, faculty, and family members devastated and in shock. He was a passionate teacher who lived for the pursuit of knowledge and was adamant about defending the institution of higher education.
But as the author of the article writes, “…Heller, like all of us adjuncts, worked on a contractual basis from semester to semester. What I didn’t know was that at 61 years old, he lived on $18,000 a year, well below the poverty level, in an increasingly expensive city. Or that he had no plan for what to do if he was not reappointed much less for retirement. His is not a singular case.”
Reading the article, we are reminded that not even two years ago, 83 year old Margaret Mary Vojtko, French Instructor at Duquesne University, died suddenly after facing years of being nearly homeless with inadequate pay and no benefits. As we continue to remember Heller and Vojtko for the passionate educators they were, we must also remember why they struggled to stay afloat.
Our fight is not over and we must continue to demand more of our institutions – for ourselves, our students and for faculty like David Heller and Margaret Mary Vojtko.