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December 5, 2002

Pitt consulting counterparts on same-sex health benefits

Pitt administrators are consulting regularly with their counterparts from Pennsylvania's other state-related universities about possibly extending health benefits to employees' same-sex partners, Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg said.

In a Nov. 20 letter to University Senate President James Cassing, Nordenberg replied to a Faculty Assembly request for a progress report on the issue.

The following is the text of the chancellor's letter: "Near the end of its thoughtful report, released last April, the Special Committee to Study Domestic Partner Benefits recommended that 'Pitt work cooperatively with other state-related universities.' "As you know, the Faculty Assembly, at its September meeting, passed a resolution including two complementary requests. It first 'asks the chancellor to take steps to implement the recommendation from the special committee…by consulting with the administrations of the other state-related institutions' and then 'requests the chancellor to report on progress by the Nov. 26, 2002 meeting of Assembly.' We agreed that I might most appropriately respond by letter to you.

"Consultations of the type recommended by the special committee actually had been initiated by me well before the committee released its report. Those consultations have been regular and are continuing. Given the nature of the discussions, it would not be appropriate for me to comment on their content, except to say that they have been constructive.

"I appreciate your help in relaying the requested information."

The University Senate anti-discriminatory policies committee, which initiated Faculty Assembly's request for an update from Nordenberg, is scheduled to meet today, Dec. 5. Committee chairperson Richard Tobias said the group will "discuss the chancellor's response and what we can do next" on the same-sex benefits issue.

— Bruce Steele

Filed under: Feature,Volume 35 Issue 8

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