Meet the underpaid university lecturer who lived in a tent for two years

When Aimée Lê's postgraduate housing closed for renovations, she knew she was in trouble. As a PhD student studying English at Royal Holloway, University of London, she brought in £12,000 per year— which wasn't enough for London rent. Determined to finish her program, she borrowed a tent and stayed at a protest camp for two years. She shared her story with The Guardian:

She stored her books in the postgraduate office so they wouldn't be damaged, and showered at university. She "didn't quite tell" her parents, saying to them that she was staying on an ecological farm so as not to worry them.

The University and College Union says the plight of young academics who are desperate to get a firm footing on the career ladder is getting worse. Staff at 146 higher education institutions have until Thursday to vote on whether to strike once again – potentially before Christmas – over unfair pay, "untenable" workloads and casualised contracts.

The Guardian

Her situation highlights patterns of low compensation in academia. Like Aimée Lê, individuals working in public sector research further the collective understanding of our world— for all of humanity— yet struggle to make an adequate living.