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March 14, 1996


No one to the rescue

To the editor:

Please permit me, as a former employee of the University of Pittsburgh, to respond to the question asked by "Distressed" (Feb.15 University Times) concerning "who will come to her aid when the 'soft money' is gone."


As one who has recently gone through the traumatic experience of being "involuntarily separated" from the University of Pittsburgh, I can personally attest to the fact that "NO ONE" will come to your rescue.

After 29 years of loyal, dedicated, conscientious service to "My University," I was "involuntarily separated" on July 31, 1995. I received no severance pay (Of course not, I was staff!), no compensation for my "120 accrued sick days" (in reality these were probably well over 200, it was just that "My University" only "permitted" me to accrue 120!) and above all, no help, I repeat, NO HELP, from the Human Resources office (After hand-carrying 19 resumes to the Human Resources offices, I discovered that my resumes were not even being forwarded to the interviewers!) Need I say more? But, my dear friends and colleagues, there is more, much more! This paper doesn't have enough pages or space to print all the stories I have to tell concerning what has transpired between me and "My University" prior to, during and after (Yes! After!) my "involuntary separation."

I would like to mention that with the exception of 28 days, all my sick days (379) were paid for by "federal monies" from "federal grants" to the University of Pittsburgh. Hm? Wonder what happened to that money?

In a September 1995 letter from Vice Chancellor Darlene Lewis, (who, I might add, finally responded to my July 1995 letter only after she received the letter (August 1995) I wrote to Interim Chancellor Nordenberg) it was stated that I did not meet the "age requirement" for sick day compensation — "55 years with 25 years of service." Isn't it odd that I was 54 years 5 months old — just 7 months short of compensation — when I was "involuntarily separated"? But, surely, surely, my 29 years of service, which was 4 years over the minimum, would mean something to this ("My") University!

DON'T BET ON IT! So "Distressed" (and I'm sure you are even more so by this time), don't expect a "Knight in Shining Blue and Gold Armor" to come charging to your rescue. I'm sorry to tell you this — but — THERE IS NO "Knight in Shining Blue and Gold Armor! Take it from one who found out the hard way!

Maryanne F. Stock

(The writer was a Research Specialist V in the Environmental and Occupational Health Department of the Graduate School of Public Health.)

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