PRIDE!Kent sees USS resolution as progress, but wants continued effort

David Yochum

PRIDE!Kent will wait until next week’s Undergraduate Student Senate meeting for a domestic partner benefits resolution, but it is wondering why it took 10 months for USS to re-address the issue.

“I want to know why they are trying to act now,” PRIDE!Kent President Amanda Boyd said. “This is an issue that has existed before Fall 2006.”

Sparking debate at last night’s PRIDE!Kent meeting, USS’ Wednesday motion to table domestic partner benefits prompted students to voice concerns about Kent State’s stance on same-sex issues.

PRIDE!Kent wants Kent State employees and students to receive domestic-partner benefits that many Ohio universities already have; an issue touched on by USS Executive Director Ross Miltner at the Wednesday USS meeting.

However, the group wasn’t impressed with the senate’s sudden benefits stance. PRIDE!Kent wants to show how important it believes the issue is to the entire Kent State community.

“Freshmen have left the university because there are no domestic partner benefits,” Boyd said, who looks to expose the benefits of passing such a resolution to people at a Risman Plaza rally on Wednesday.

If the benefits resolution is passed, it is up to President Lester Lefton to propose a plan to the Board of Trustees. The board would have to vote to “extend university health benefits to domestic partners of eligible KSU employees and students,” Miltner said in yesterday’s edition of the Daily Kent Stater.

Knowing Lefton would have a direct hand in the resolution, some students at PRIDE!Kent’s meeting were skeptical of his motives: that the issue would be used to bolster the new president’s public image. Others defended Lefton, saying his hands could be tied by Issue One, the issue from 2004 that banned gay marriage in Ohio.

Boyd will reserve judgment on Lefton for now.

PRIDE!Kent also announced the University of Akron’s LGBT group president will be at next week’s meeting. PRIDE!Kent visited Akron last week in an effort to build stronger bonds between the local campuses.

Contact minority affairs reporter David Yochum at [email protected].