July 15th, 2015
"I have to work at Trader Joe's to afford to teach at
Webster," says Elizabeth Sausele. Sausele, 50, has a master's in
divinity and a doctorate in education with an emphasis in intercultural
studies. She worked on her dissertation in Rwanda, studying adolescent
trauma in the wake of war and genocide. For the last six years, she's
taught at Webster University's Institute of Human Rights and
Humanitarian Studies, part of the College of Arts and Sciences at the
private, non-profit university in Webster Groves. Currently, she teaches
two classes a semester. It doesn't pay the bills. "Trader Joe's pays me
more to stock bananas than Webster pays me to teach," she muses.
She quit Webster's academic subcomittee for the Human Rights Program
for just that reason. "I can't afford to go to meetings for free
anymore," she states flatly. In fact, thanks to her four-day-a-week job
at Trader Joe's, she couldn't attend many meetings of her fellow adjunct
professors as they contemplated unionizing.
She even missed the Webster adjunct faculty vote at the National
Labor Relations Board on May 11, though she would have liked to have
She was too busy stocking bananas.