Purdue University Senate passes resolutions on inclusion and faculty healthcare changes

The Inclusion Resolution was sparked by the announcement that Chick-fil-a is coming to campus. The Healthcare Resolution addresses a lack of communication with the faculty.

Posted: Oct 21, 2019 11:30 PM
Updated: Oct 21, 2019 11:31 PM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - The Purdue University Senate passed resolutions on inclusion and the new faculty healthcare changes on Monday at its October meeting.

The Inclusion Resolution urges that commercial entities on campus have the same inclusion standards as the school itself. Those standards include rules against discrimination based on race, sex, religion, and sexual orientation. The resolution passed with 82% of the vote.

Purdue's policy III.C.2 says, "Purdue University does not condone and will not tolerate Discrimination against any individual on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin or ancestry, genetic information, disability, status as a veteran, marital status, parental status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression."

The proposal in the resolution says, "Purdue University shall require that all commercial entities located on campus property uphold the same values as are recorded in University Policy III.C.2 and promote inclusivity with their policies, hiring practices, and actions."

It was proposed because several people on the senate don't believe that Chick-fil-a meets those requirements, specifically for sexual orientation. As we previously reported, Purdue announced in September that a Chick-fil-a will come to come to campus. 

Cheryl Cooky is the Chairperson for the senate. She said they tried to make it about protecting everyone, and not just targeting Chick-fil-a.

"The authors of the resolution were very mindful and intentional about not making this about one particular commercial entity, but to think about our values holistically as an institution," she said.

A senate resolution is only a declaration of their position. Cooky can then take the resolution to leaders at Purdue to use as guidelines for policy changes. It won't change anything about the contract bringing Chick-fil-a to the school.

The university senate also voted to pass a resolution regarding changes to faculty healthcare plans. As we previously reported, some of these changes include changes to spousal eligibility, a surcharge on smokers and ending the PPO program.

Some faculty feel they did not have enough say in the changes that are coming this enrollment cycle. The resolution says that the Board of Trustees "did not appropriately engage the university senate." It passed with 93% in favor.

The trustees approved these changes in June when some faculty are not in town. Cooky said there is little that can be done to change the trustee's timeline and that this has been in the works since last fall. She said with rising healthcare costs, the university had to do something in order to stay in the budget. Many voiced their concerns at a town hall meeting last October. Cooky said she believes all this feedback was taken into consideration by Purdue's leadership.

Purdue's Human Resources department is ready to help with some solutions.

"Every couple of days I'm getting some sort of email correspondence from human resources about benefits changes, about resources on campus about different activities faculty can get involved in," she said.

Even though a town hall meeting was held for faculty to give feedback, some feel they were not given enough time to voice their concerns. Enrollment for the new healthcare plan starts in the next few weeks. It will go into effect in January 2020.

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