Tuesday, Oct. 16: Community Forum on Domestic Partner Benefits at UT

You're invited to a community forum & mass meeting to discuss domestic partner benefits at UT and in higher education. This meeting is geared toward finding a way forward (in conversation and action) to make this university a more equitable, just and non-discriminating institution. While the administration has dismissed the unanimous Faculty Senate resolution calling for partner benefits and the community's demand for justice and fairness, we want to come together to think of a way forward. UT has a long history of trying to keep the bottom line as low as it can on the backs of its workers, and us workers have a long history of fighting back!

Tuesday, October 16th at 5:30pm
12th Floor Conference Room in McClung Tower in Humanities Plaza
UT Campus
Download flyer here


ALL Faculty, Staff, and Student allies are invited to join in solidarity (Alumni are welcome too)! We need everyone to put needed pressure on administration to do the right thing. 
Please pass this along to all interested persons and groups.

It is hosted by United Campus Workers, Tennessee's public higher education union, and its allies.

------Background information-----------------------
Last semester in April the Faculty Senate proposed a resolution in support of extending existing employee benefits for spouses of married couples to same sex couples who, in the state of Tennessee, are not afforded such legal standing. 

Education, leave and health benefits are a few among others that were proposed in this resolution and unanimously agreed upon by all Faculty Senate members. 

Monday, September 24, Chancellors Larry Arrington and Jimmy Cheek finally responded to the resolution with a three paragraph statement that many in the UT community feel was too brief, vague, disrespectful and insensitive.

In one of the more publicized lines of the Chancellors’ response letter, they wrote that the proposal was: "inconsistent with the public policy of our state expressed in constitutional and statutory provisions." However, the letter did not outline which policies or laws they were referencing and how those laws were being interpreted. 

There were a variety of responses: Most notably, faculty members Wanda Costen and Tina Shepardson's interview with Knoxnews.com (1), Commission for LGBT People Chair, Keith Kirkland’s, poignant open letter to Chancellor Cheek an Arrington (2) and student Eric Dixon’s opinion column in the Daily Beacon (3). See links below. 

If you would like to receive the email version of this invite please contact Thomas Walker at [email protected] or the United Campus Workers at 865-329-0085

(1) http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2012/sep/25/ut-faculty-members-unhappy-with-response-to-same/
(2) http://lgbt.utk.edu/
(3) http://utdailybeacon.com/opinion/columns/fourth-branch/2012/oct/3/denying-same-sex-benefits-troubling/