NU Regents approve expanding benefits

By:  Cole Miller

The University of Nebraska will extend benefits to employees' domestic partners starting next year.

It's been 7 months since the idea of extending benefits to university employees' significant others hit the board of regents. Sociology professor Helen Moore is breathing a huge sigh of relief.  Friday afternoon, The University of Nebraska Board of Regents gave approval to the “Employee Plus One” benefits program. 

“I am very proud of the University of Nebraska. I am very pleased the Regents, the students, the chancellors, the faculty senates all came together,” says Moore.

The program gives the “plus one” health, dental and vision insurance.  They can be of the opposite or same sex.  Also, to be eligible, that person must have lived with the employee for at least a year. 

A few people urged the regents to vote no.  Many saying it devalued the institution of marriage.

“The Sarpy Republican Women oppose the use of our tax dollars to fund health benefits for cohabiting partners and their families,” says Nora Sandine, who opposes the proposal.

And just before the vote, University of Nebraska President J.B. Milliken had a few final words.

“We believe that it is appropriate for positioning the University competitively. I can speak for myself; I think it's absolutely the right thing to do for our employees.”

And after a quick vote it passed 5 to 3.  In addition, all 4 student regents voted yes, as well.

“While I've had personal support in my work for 33 years, the University has not recognized that healthcare benefits to the people we love and share our families with,”  says Professor Moore.