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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
October 6, 2006

U of Cincinnati may add limited partner benefits

Cincinnati--Very limited domestic partner benefits might be coming to the University of Cincinnati, after a faculty union approved them in the last week of September.

The trustees will vote on them on November 28.

Unlike the benefits at six other public universities in Ohio, the UC offering will be completely employee-paid, and will be offered to opposite-sex and same-sex domestic partners of faculty members.

If the trustees approve the plan, faculty can purchase life, personal accident and long-term insurance for their partners. The benefits do not include health insurance or tuition reimbursement, and employees would cover the entire cost of the benefits.

Faculty members would also be able to request leave to care for a sick or injured partner, condolence leave if a partner dies or childcare leave.

If the board of trustees approves the plan, it would be a major milestone in the 15-year effort to get domestic partner benefits at the school. The three-year contract ratified in 2004 left the door open for the matter to be revisited during its term, and the faculty union plans to push for more comprehensive benefits during their negotiations next year.

�It means . . . that the university is making an attempt at equality for all faculty in terms of benefits,� union president Sally Dunn told the Cincinnati Enquirer. �And it�s a beginning for domestic partner benefits.�

The University of Toledo approved benefits in March, while Miami University and Ohio University in 2004 dealt a one-two punch to the debate over what was then a proposed anti-gay marriage amendment by announcing domestic partner benefits at both schools.

The amendment passed in November 2004, but the schools continued to offer the benefits. State Rep. Thomas Brinkman is suing Miami University, claiming that the benefits violate the state constitutional amendment by recognizing same-sex relationships and equating them with marriage.

Cleveland State University�s employee contracts called for offering any benefits given to staff at other state universities, so once Miami and Ohio Universities began their plans, CSU faculty got the benefits.

Ohio State and Youngstown State also offer partner benefits.

Private Ohio schools that offer the benefits include the College of Wooster, Baldwin-Wallace College, Denison University, Hiram College, Kenyon College, Case Western Reserve University and Oberlin College, according to a Human Rights Campaign database.


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