After almost a quarter century of teaching at Duquesne University, Margaret Mary Vojtko was essentially fired when her contract was not renewed.
Vojtko was suffering from cancer and could not afford to heat her home when she found herself without a job for the first time in 25 years.
She had been sleeping in her office at the school — her only place of refuge from the cold.
College Professors are generally well paid and enjoy important benefits including a pension, health coverage and in many cases, paid sabbatical leave.
Top administers do even better. And coaches can make 7 figure salaries.
Institutions of higher education balance their books on the backs of adjunct teachers, who have no benefits and are paid on a national average around $3,000 per class each semester.
Adjuncts at Duquesne had voted overwhelmingly to join the United Steelworkers Union, but university officials had fought the vote claiming a religious exemption.
More than half of those teaching in colleges and universities today have adjunct status and are subject these less-than-desirable salary levels.
Duquesne officials have insisted that people regularly reached out to Vojtko knowing in regards to her deplorable circumstances.
Perhaps she needed adequate pay, health coverage and a job, not charity.
Listen to an NPR report on the story below.