March18, 2013


B. Resolution on Domestic Partner Benefits (D 10230).

Chair Hilley presented a resolution from the UT System Faculty Advisory Council in support of domestic partner benefits. She said the UT Austin Faculty Council had been asked to endorse the resolution, as stated below:
In support of and agreement with the resolution from The University of Texas System Faculty Advisory Council, the University of Texas at Austin Faculty Council Executive Committee encourages the Board of Regents to urge legislators to pursue changes in state laws and, subsequently, to change Regents' Rules and Regulations in order to allow The University of Texas System and its individual campuses to treat domestic partners equivalently to employee spouses in all University benefit plans
The rationale for the resolution included the following major points: first, non-marital domestic partnerships have become increasingly common in modern society among corporations, governmental entities, and universities; and second, the provision of equivalent status is an issue of fairness and equity that will have a positive effect on faculty and staff morale as well as on faculty and staff recruitment and retention.

When Dr. Blinda McClelland (biology) asked if this proposal included gay couples, Chair Hilley confirmed that it would. Chair Hilley advised Council members that the form for UTS 180 included a definition of domestic partners. Professor Linda Reichl (physics) asked for clarification regarding the paperwork involved to declare someone a domestic partner. President Powers noted that the document would “be perfectly well understood at being supporting gay couples for our benefits,” even if some details might have to be addressed to actually include it in the Rules and Regulations. Chair Hilley also noted that the University of Nebraska has a category of “employee plus one,” which listed in detail what qualifies as a domestic partner. There being no further discussion, the resolution was unanimously approved by voice vote.

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