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December 2, 2002

LGBT reviews extension of long-term care benefits to same-sex partners

By Eric Rangus

The most recent meeting of the President’s Commission on LGBT Concerns took place Nov. 19 in 400 Administration, and chair Kathy McKee led off with a review of the commission’s work to extend Emory’s new long-term care insurance benefit to same-sex domestic partners of employees.

The benefit originally was not offered to domestic partners, but after the commission sent a letter to President Bill Chace, Vice President for Human Resources Alice Miller and others asking that its concerns be heard, McKee was invited to a conference call between Emory and UnumProvident, the program provider.

McKee told the commission that Unum said extending such a policy to same-sex domestic partners in Georgia was illegal, but that exceptions could be granted. Under that exception, the benefit was extended to same-sex domestic partners of Emory employees. Sign-ups will continue through December.

“Our mission was to get the benefits for our folks,” McKee said.

In other business, committee chairs were selected, and McKee asked each to set up meetings with their committees. The new chairs are: Maria Carrión (essay), Jeff Martin (LGBT studies), Catherine Shiel (nominating/membership and outreach), Cathi Wentworth (policies and procedures) and Danielle Doughman (pride banquet).

Wentworth, an Oxford employee, asked the commission whether it was necessary for there to be an Oxford LGBT committee or simply a liaison between the commission and the college. She said a group of eight to 10 people currently deals with LGBT issues at Oxford and that another committee may be redundant.

Commission members agreed. A motion passed stating that an Oxford committee was not necessary as long as there was a member of the Oxford community on the commission.

That person could serve as liaison; Wentworth volunteered to fill the position. A change to the commission bylaws ensuring an Oxford position on the commission will be looked into.
Student representative Nathan Woodling asked the commission for a letter of support for making information on harassment of LGBT individuals a part of freshman orientation.

Currently, Woodling said, some orientation leaders, resident assistants and residence hall directors discuss the subject, but not all.

Commission members agreed the issue is important and suggested the best approach would be to focus on education in residence halls rather than during orientation. They suggested approaching other campus offices, including multicultural programs, equal opportunity programs, student activities and Greek life, for support.

The next LGBT meeting will be held Tuesday, Jan. 14, at Oxford College.

If you have a question or comment for LGBT, send e-mail to chair Kathy McKee at