Letter to the editor

Are benefits really beneficial?

Dear editor,

It sounds as if domestic partner benefits would be available only to tenure track faculty, should they decide to accept the contract extension offer. Does that mean that NTTs and AFSCME employees must separately negotiate for these benefits? And what about the rest of the campus community not represented by a union? Is the university really going to provide some groups domestic partner benefits and not others?

I’d like to see some discussion in the Stater about what specific benefits are being offered. It’s my understanding that domestic partners will only be provided insurance benefits but not the tuition waiver that is available to the spouse, children and step-children of married employees.

That doesn’t seem “equal” to me, but then I don’t believe the administration is making this offer because they are committed to equality for all employees. Nor do I believe that the extension offer is due to uncertainty about the financial impact of the Chancellor’s recent report on higher education in Ohio.

I think the administration is unprepared for negotiations. They’re in no position at this time to make a convincing argument for cutting benefits or reducing pay increases for faculty, when the university is paying for a VP to pursue a graduate degree from a private institution to the tune of $88,000 of taxpayers’ and students’ money. Furthermore, executive salaries have significantly increased during the last several years, while faculty salaries have stagnated.

Miami U, OU, OSU and YSU offer partner benefits. If President Lefton really wants to lead KSU, he needs to first catch up to the rest of Ohio’s public universities. Now that would be Excellence in Action.

Lisa Vargas

Liberal studies masters student