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March 11, 2010 Volume 31, No. 23

Faculty Council backs partner benefits

Unanimous vote

Change would cost UM System $2.2 million

Faculty Council at its March 4 meeting voted to approve a resolution that calls on the University to expand its benefits package to include coverage for the same-sex domestic partners of employees.

The resolution is being forwarded to the UM System administration. It ultimately would require approval by the Board of Curators. According to estimates from UM Human Resources office, expanding medical coverage to domestic partners would cost the University approximately $2.2 million year.

Council members also approved a resolution which recommends that Chancellor Brady Deaton appoint a committee or task force to explore ways to make MU a more family friendly campus. (Please read text of resolutions in the accompanying sidebar.)

In other action March 4, Faculty Council:

  • Heard an update from council chair Leona Rubin on efforts to provide an opportunity for faculty across campus to gather socially. Rubin, associate professor of veterinary biomedical sciences, said that Vice Chancellor Jackie Jones, Provost Brian Foster and John LaRocca, general manager of the University Club, had worked with her to identify space that faculty could use in the club on a regular basis.
  • The first event will be held at the club from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, March 25, on the second floor of the Reynolds Alumni Center. The club will provide snacks and some beverages, and a cash bar will be available. Rubin said Provost Foster supported such gatherings as opportunities to enhance faculty collaboration and collegiality.
  • Were briefed by Athletic Director Mike Alden and Lori Franz, the campus’ faculty athletic representative, about Intercollegiate Athletics programs and progress. Council members received a report on MU’s “academic progress rate” for individual sports, a recent NCAA requirement for schools.

Alden also reminded the council that this is the first year in which MU’s $2.2 million annual budget support for Intercollegiate Athletics will be phased out over three years. “It’s been a tough thing to do, but it’s been the right thing to do,” Alden said.

Resolution on Domestic Partner Benefits

Whereas, employers compensate employees through more than just wages and salary by providing benefits such as health insurance and tuition reduction, with the traditional benefits structure including an employee’s opposite-sex spouse and children;

Whereas, more than 300 institutions of higher education in the USA, including 51 of 60 AAU institutions, have same-sex domestic partner benefits included as part of their employee benefits package, with the University of Missouri System being one of only a few that does not offer such benefits to its faculty and staff;

Whereas, as a result of this inequity, University of Missouri may be less able to attract and retain the best faculty and staff, and whereas this inequity simply is contrary to a sense of human fairness;

Therefore, be it resolved that the Faculty Council of the University of Missouri’s flagship campus strongly recommends that same-sex partners of University of Missouri employees be allowed access to all of the same rights, privileges, and benefits to which opposite-sex spouses currently are entitled.

Also, that Chair Rubin communicate this resolution to University of Missouri System  President Gary Forsee as well as to Vice-President for Human Resources Betsy Rodriguez.

Joint Resolution for a Family Friendly Initiative

Whereas, the Graduate Professional Council, the Missouri Students Association, the Staff Advisory Council, the Faculty Council and the Status of Women Committee have all started initiatives to make the University of Missouri a more friendly environment for all types of families; and,

Whereas, these groups have worked separately on some of the same issues related to family friendly policies; and,
Whereas, we believe that bringing all the parties to the same table would benefit the students, faculty staff and administration; and,

Whereas committees have been formed that have examined issues related to Veteran Affairs, the Status of Women, and Disabilities; and,

Whereas these committees address some of the issues related to family, no committee or task force exists that focuses solely on family friendly policies for students, faculty and staff.

Therefore, it is strongly recommended that Chancellor Brady Deaton form a family friendly task force that examines the policies and issues related to making the University of Missouri a more family friendly campus; and,

Be it resolved that this committee/task force be comprised of students, staff, faculty and administration; and,

Be it resolved that this committee be formed beginning in the 2010-2011 academic year and be tasked to examine the policies of the University and make suggestions to make the University more family friendly.