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Pitt librarian group protests policy on same-sex insurance

Friday, February 04, 2000

By Bill Schackner, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

A group representing University of Pittsburgh librarians is calling on the university to begin extending health insurance to domestic partners of its gay and lesbian employees.

Pitt's practice of not providing those benefits is the subject of a lawsuit by seven current and former employees. The University Library System's faculty assembly, which represents 50 faculty librarians on the main campus, said the practice "is discriminatory and harmful" and should be reconsidered.

"This policy negatively affects the university's ability to recruit and retain highly qualified and talented academic scholars," the six-paragraph statement read. "For many, it is a statement of the university's level of sincerity in valuing diversity within the workplace."

"As librarians it is our mission to provide an atmosphere of inclusion ... we urge the University of Pittsburgh to embrace the spirit of its own nondiscrimination, equal opportunity and affirmative action policy," the statement read.

Pitt spokesman Ken Service had no comment on the statement yesterday.

The library assembly approved it by a vote of 26-7 with five abstentions, its President Katherine Thomes said yesterday. Copies of the statement were delivered to the offices of Pitt Chancellor Mark Nordenberg, the board of trustees and management of the library system.

The four-year-old lawsuit is before the city Commission on Human Relations. Pitt has asked Common Pleas Judge Robert Gallo to bar the commission from proceeding with the case.

Last year, groups representing faculty, staff and students passed similar resolutions.

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