Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

SACUA endorses university position regarding benefits policy

The Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs unanimously endorsed a resolution supporting current university policy regarding the provision of benefits to faculty, staff and eligible dependents.

The resolution approved Monday comes as the state Legislature is considering a pair of bills that would prohibit public employers from providing certain health benefits to an unrelated adult or their child living with an employee.

The state House has passed the measures — House Bills 4770 and 4771 — and they are pending before a state Senate committee.

"Recognizing the integrity of self-governance at the University of Michigan, we support the current policy that provides these benefits at the U-M," the SACUA resolution says. "To do otherwise, the University of Michigan would be significantly hampered in its effort to recruit and retain the best faculty and staff. In addition, the health of the university community, including dependent children of qualified adults, would be put in jeopardy."

The resolution passed by SACUA, the executive arm of U-M's faculty governance structure, will go before the Senate Assembly, which consists of 74 elected faculty representatives.

U-M offers benefits to those persons who meet the criteria of Other Qualified Adults. The university's position is that its health care policies comply with state law, and it does not plan to alter them, said Kelly Cunningham, director of public affairs.

"The option to cover eligible dependents is commonly offered by the public and private higher education and corporate sector institutions with which we compete for the nations' best talent," Cunningham said.

The university will continue to follow the developments in the Legislature closely, she said.