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June 27, 2103 Volume 34, No. 32

Same-sex benefits approved by curators


New benefits to go into effect in 2014

With a unanimous vote, the University of Missouri Board of Curators approved June 13 employee benefits for “sponsored adult dependents,” a group that includes same-sex couples.

Medical, dental, vision and life insurance will be available, as will accidental death and dismemberment insurance, starting in 2014. The move is part of changes to employee health benefits due to the federal Affordable Care Act.

“This is just absolutely wonderful in every way. We are now able to be equitable to all members of our community,” said Chief Diversity Officer Noor Azizan-Gardner. “This decision means that we have made one giant step toward creating a more diverse and inclusive campus.”

The new coverage comes after several years of planning and work, including resolutions on all four campuses’ faculty councils recommending that the UM System cover same-sex partner benefits.

“I felt really excited and a sense of pride for Mizzou because now the official policies match the environment here,” said Struby Struble, coordinator of the MU LGBTQ Resource Center

“It’s also really good because it will help so much with recruitment and hiring. When prospective faculty asked what our policy was and I had to tell them we didn’t have [same-sex partner] benefits, you could see on their faces that they thought it wasn’t the right fit.”

To be eligible, a sponsored adult dependent must

• be at least 18 years old,

• have shared the same residence as the employee for at least one year and continue to share the same residence, disregarding temporary absences because of special circumstances,

• not be currently married to another person under statutory or common law,

• not be related to the employee by a degree that would prohibit lawful marriage in the state in which the employee resides, and

• and not be eligible for Medicare.

— Ryan Gavin