Faculty Senate approves same-sex benefits

Laura Kennedy

Members of the ISU Faculty Senate voted to approve same-sex benefits for faculty health insurance Tuesday night.

“The issue is that the university should make the same contribution to them as they do to other partner relationships,” Faculty Senate President David Hopper said.

Hopper, professor of veterinary medicine, said the university currently has four or five same-sex partners, and insurance for the couples will cost $11,000 annually. He said the vote was “an issue of equity.”

Not all faculty members agreed with the senate’s decision, particularly concerning the language of the document.

“I think that it is absolutely unconscionable,” said Jim Hutter, associate professor of political science.

Mike Doran, associate professor of accounting, also said he is unsure of the decision.

“I think we need pressure to change the law before we deal with it as a state organization,” he said.

The issue of non-tenure faculty and Committee G was also discussed during the meeting.

Christie Pope, associate professor of history, presented the subject to senate members and proposed a discussion and straw poll on the issue.

Hopper said the issue of non-tenure status and benefits at Iowa State “will receive a broad and deep review” by the senate in future meetings.

During the meeting, senate members also passed the bachelor’s of science program in technical studies, bachelor’s of arts program in classical studies, domestic-partner insurance and the Association of American Universities principles for emerging systems of scholarly publishing.

The ISU faculty-conduct policy was also discussed by senate members during the meeting, and Hopper said he hopes a new policy will be adapted this year since it has been under discussion for the past four years. “This is a terribly important policy,” he said.

Faculty members also discussed the discontinuation of the psychology specialist degree program, the changing of the audit policy and unmet high school requirements standards.

Max Wortman, distinguished professor of management, said these issues will have continued discussion during the group’s next meeting Nov. 14.