Home > Campus, News > Breaking News: Fordham University Faculty Receives Equal Benefits

Breaking News: Fordham University Faculty Receives Equal Benefits

By Ashley WennersHerron, Editor-in-Chief, with reporting by Christina Frasca, Co-News Editor

On April 30, Fordham University faculty members won a four year fight for equal health benefits for every member of the faculty, regardless of sexual orientation. Previously, legally domiciled adults (LDAs) were not recognized in the faculty’s health benefits package. This means that same-sex marriages and partnerships, including relationships between two men, two women, or between an unmarried man and woman, were not afforded the same benefits as marriages between heterosexual individuals. LDA benefits also extend to faculty members who may be responsible for caring for an elderly parent or some other dependent adult in their household.

Opposition by Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York State, was cited by multiple faculty members as the reason the Rev. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., and president of the University, refused to approved LDA benefits prior to the April 30 faculty senate meeting. It was speculated that Dolan did not agree that domestic partnerships should receive the same rights as traditional marriages.

Andrew Clark, associate professor of French and comparative literature and the chair of the committee on salary and benefits for the faculty senate said that McShane announced that he had spoken with Dolan and he was now willing to put LDA benefits in place for all faculty members. Dolan was quoted in a Sept. 20, 2009 issue of New York Magazine in support of equal health benefits for all people.

“I’m very happy. I think we’re finally treating our community as a whole, and it means good things for Fordham,” Clark said. “The response of the faculty of the senate and the people in audience was one of joy and thanks and relief.”

Patrick Hornbeck, an asst. professor of theology and a member of the committee on salary and benefits, said, “It’s a moment where we feel a lot of relief and joy and great deal of peace for an issue the faculty has been fighting for so long… It’s a remarkable sign of what the Fordham community can do when it puts its mind to doing important things for justice.”

The benefits package will be based on the model the University of San Francisco uses. Each member of the faculty will be allowed to claim one individual for their LDA benefits. There are two classes of LDA benefits, one for domestic partners, the other for dependent adults. Each class includes various requirements and validation, but, as Hornbeck said, “It’s equality. Every member [of the faculty] gets the option.”

The president’s office will not be releasing an official statement at this time.

[updated May 3 at 4:44 p.m. EST]

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  1. May 26, 2010 at 5:54 pm

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