COLUMBIA — The stage is set for the University of Missouri System Board of Curators to take up a recommendation on domestic partner benefits.
Last week, the Faculty Senate at the Missouri University of Science and Technology approved a resolution in support of offering same-sex benefits for partners of gay and lesbian university employees.
That puts the issue one step closer to going to the board, because with this resolution, all four UM System faculty councils have now passed resolutions in support of such benefits.
UM System President Tim Wolfe has said that he wants to take a recommendation on such benefits to the board before the end of the year and that it would be ideal to have a consensus among the four campuses.
The Associated Press reported last week that Missouri S&T professor Susan Murray said she hopes Thursday's resolution will send a message to the curators that the benefits should be available on all four campuses.
On Monday, UM System spokeswoman Jennifer Hollingshead reiterated the president's commitment to bring the issue to the board before the end of this year but could not say whether a recommendation would go to the board at its next meeting in June.
Resolutions in favor of offering benefits to domestic partners of gay and lesbian UM System employees have poured in to the system office since 2008, when MU Chancellor Brady Deaton wrote to then-president Gary Forsee in support of a similar resolution put forward by the Chancellor's Status of Women Committee.
Since then, the system has received resolutions from groups and administrators including the Missouri Students Association, MU Athletics Director Mike Alden, the MU Graduate Professional Council and the University of Missouri-Kansas City deans, among others.
Of the 61 institutions in the Association of American Universities, MU is one of five campuses that have not implemented some form of domestic partner benefits, says a 2011 MU Faculty Council report on domestic partner benefits.
MU Faculty Council representative Leona Rubin said she worries that if the issue is shot down by the board, it could set back the possibility of offering such benefits by several years.