Domestic partner benefits approved at special Board of Trustees meeting

Maria Nann

After years of pushing, Kent State’s faculty will be covered next year by domestic partner benefits for the first time.

The Board of Trustees met in a special session yesterday and approved a collective bargaining agreement reached Aug. 1 by the administration and Kent State’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors.

“I think both our process and this final agreement shows (what) we can accomplish when we work together to achieve mutual objectives in a responsible way,” President Lester Lefton said.

The agreement covers all tenure and tenure-track AAUP members for a three-year period, through Aug. 23, 2011. Through the new contract, the faculty will receive an overall salary raise of 13.5 percent, as well as improvements to health care benefits.

“I’m pleased that the agreement was approved by the board,” Mark Weber, chief negotiator for the administration, said. “We can now put collective bargaining behind us and turn to our main function, which is educating students and research.”

Cheryl Casper, chief negotiator for AAUP, could not be reached for comment.

During the special session, the board also approved a new bachelor of applied career studies program, which will allow students to obtain full bachelor’s degrees from the basis of a previousl earned associate’s degree.

This program will be offered at all seven regional Kent State campuses.

“This new degree will be competency-based and flexible, thus serving adults, many of whom have some college (experience) and will attend our regional campuses,” Lefton said. “This is yet another example of how Kent State is fulfilling its regional campus mission.”

Contact academic affairs reporter Maria Nann at [email protected]