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April 18, 2002


To the editor:

As the University administration comes to a decision about same-sex partner benefits, we urge them to heed the many voices within the University community raised in support of these benefits. Faculty in the medieval and renaissance studies program, the cultural studies program, the film studies program and the women's studies program support the right of same-sex partners of Pitt employees to receive all the benefits available to employees' spouses. As an equal opportunity employer, the University of Pittsburgh claims to support principles and practices of equality in the workplace. Benefits such as health insurance and tuition remission for family members are important elements of compensation for faculty and staff. The University's practice of denying these benefits to same-sex partners contradicts its commitment to fair and equal treatment of its employees. This denial also undermines the University's ability to attract and retain talented workers.

The University of Pittsburgh should stand by its commitment to the achievement of equal opportunity, prohibiting discrimination in its fringe benefit policy based on arbitrary considerations. Therefore, we join the many other members of the campus community calling upon the University administration to extend equal eligibility for benefits to all partnered faculty and staff, including those denied state sanction of their unions by the Defense of Marriage Act.

Renate Kosinski Director Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program

Nancy Condee Director Cultural Studies Program

Marcia Landy Acting Director Film Studies Program

Carol Stabile Director Women's Studies Program

(Editor's note: This letter was endorsed by the five-member executive committee of the medieval and renaissance studies program, 19 members of the film studies program's core faculty, and by the 28-member steering committee of the women's studies program.)

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