Thursday, December 30, 2010

Committee on Faculty Welfare Endorses Domestic Partner Benefits for Gay and Lesbian Marquette Faculty

On an issue we have been covering:

An e-mail from Matt Blessing, Chair of the Committee on Faculty Welfare.
Hi John,

The CFW voted 7-2 in favor of the motion advancing to the Academic Senate for their review. All members voted. As with any vote, the minutes will reflect the outcome of the vote, not how each individual voted.
We asked Blessing whether he had any comment about the way the discussion went. He responded:
Speaking for myself, I felt the motion presented to CFW by the Subcommittee on Equity (specifically the “whereas” sections of the motion) demonstrated that they’d gathered data and done their research. In my opinion, the motion was ready for presentation and discussion in the University Academic Senate.

Best,
Matt Blessing

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Push for Gay and Lesbian Domestic Partner Benefits At Marquette: Update

Last Sunday, we blogged about a motion before the Committee on Faculty Welfare calling for domestic partner benefits for gay and lesbian faculty and staff at Marquette.

This past Wednesday, we talked to Matt Blessing, the Chair of the Committee, who updated us on the status of the issue.

No vote was taken on Monday. Rather the issue is to be voted on via e-mail this coming Monday (December 20th). The plan was for faculty to discuss the issue via e-mail.

Lisa Hanson, of the Subcommittee on Equity, presented the resolution to the full committee, and there was perhaps ten to fifteen minutes of discussion. But according to Blessing “we wanted people to have time to think it over and not force a vote.”

Committee members had only seen early drafts of the resolution, but hadn’t heard anyone explain it.

Asked about the “general tone of the discussion,” Blessing responded “I think it was mixed, I think there were definitely people at the table who were supportive, and there were some who had serious reservations, and there were others who were quiet.”

Some discussion involved what the cost of the proposal would be. Lisa Hanson, after the meeting, contacted Human Resources at Marquette to find out whether they had any information, and found that they did not.

Other discussion revolved around the question of a blood kin individual who might be dependent on a Marquette employee — say a 62 year-old parent who needed health insurance. Some on the Committee believed that the language in the proposal was too vague in defining that category.

The proposal doesn’t limit coverage to gays and lesbians, although the prefatory language makes it clear that coverage for homosexuals is the real issue.

Other discussion revolved around “the Catholic Church” and the “sanctity of marriage,” with some members concerned that “these are issues we need to take seriously.” According to Blessing, this was the primary reason that members did not want to immediately vote on the matter.

When the Subcommittee on Equity was dealing with the issue Stephanie Russell of the Office of Mission and Ministry had attended some of the meetings, and had contacted some of her counterparts at other Catholic universities.

It’s heartening that at least some faculty are willing to raise the issue of Marquette’s Catholic mission, and the propriety of subsidizing relationships that Catholic teaching views as illicit. Framing the issue as “legally domiciled adults” is a transparent fig-leaf which fools nobody.

But do the dissenters constitute a majority (or anything close) on the Committee, or in the Academic Senate? And is the Administration, badly bruised by the Jodi O’Brien fiasco, willing to placate the campus gay lobby with this radical a rejection of the institution’s Catholic mission?

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Marquette Faculty Senate Committee Pushes Domestic Partner Benefits for Gay and Lesbian Employees

Actually, they aren’t honest enough to call them “domestic partner benefits,” but that’s clearly the issue.

Tomorrow (Monday) a subcommittee of the Committee on Faculty Welfare of the University Academic Senate will meet to consider something they call “Legally Domiciled Adult” benefits. The meeting will be from 1:00-2:30 in Room 364 of the Alumni Memorial Union.

The following e-mail was sent to members of the subcommittee:
Dear colleagues,

The LDA benefits motion was modified slightly for clarity at the Subcommittee on Equity meeting last night. Attached you will find the final motion that was unanimously approved by the subcommittee membership.

We on the Subcommittee on Equity are anxious for this motion to be successful but we all need to give the shared governance process a chance to work. This motion will move forward to Committee on Faculty Welfare (CFW). The co-chairs (Matt Blessing and Judith McMullem) of that committee are copied on this email and have been actively involved in the process to this point, which is a real advantage. When/if the motion is approved by CFW it will be forwarded to the executive committee of UAS. The chair and vice-chair of UAS [University Academic Senate] are aware that the motion is on its way (another advantage). If the Executive Committee agrees to allow it to go on the agenda, then it can be presented at UAS. After it is presented, UAS can decide if they are ready for a vote. As I mentioned, I am willing to “midwife” the motion through the process and present it at UAS. I would anticipate that if all goes well the earliest it could be heard at UAS would be January or February. When it is presented, I think it would be good to mobilize all of our own senators to be aware of the importance of this motion as an equity issue.

Congratulations on a very good motion and a collaborative process! Thank you for everyone’s effort to make this possible, especially to the author of the original motion.

With thanks and kind regards, Lisa

Lisa Hanson, PhD, CNM, FACNM
Associate Professor
Marquette University
College of Nursing
How does that motion that Hanson is willing to “midwife” read? Here it is:
SUBCOMMITTEE ON EQUITY MOTION
ESTABLISHMENT OF LEGALLY DOMICILED ADULTS BENEFIT PLANS


• Whereas Marquette University has a statement of non-discrimination, which reads: “Marquette University does not discriminate in any manner contrary to law or justice on the basis of race, color, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, disability, veteran’s status or national origin in its educational programs or activities, including employment and admissions”;

• Whereas, the Ignatian principle of cura personalis stems from a conviction of the transcendent and divinely-conferred equal dignity of all persons, regardless of societal status or cultural recognition;

• Whereas, the provision of benefits to those designated as “Legally Domiciled Adults” (LDAs) is consistent with the Catholic Church’s long-standing teaching that access to healthcare is fundamental to human dignity;

• Whereas, a comprehensive definition of LDA is;

A Legally Domiciled Adult is an individual over 18 who has, for at least 6 months, lived in the same principal residence with the employee and remains a member of the employee’s household throughout the coverage period; and who

EITHER (Category A) has a close personal relationship with the employee (not a casual roommate or tenant), shares basic living expenses and is financially interdependent with the employee. The LDA is neither legally married to anyone else nor legally related to the employee by blood in any way that would prohibit marriage, and is not receiving benefits from an employer and is not eligible for any group coverage;

OR (Category B) is a blood relative who meets the definition of a tax dependent as defined by Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code during the coverage period and is not receiving benefits from an employer, is not eligible for any group coverage and would not be eligible for Medicare or Medicaid due to age or other factors.
(Seattle University HRWebsite http://www.seattleu.edu/hr/Inner.aspx?id=38516 retrieved 10-28-10)

• Whereas Marquette University does not currently provide human resources benefits to LDAs;

• Whereas in particular, this gap in human resources policies violates the University’s non-discrimination statement to the extent that not providing said benefits renders lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered-identified (LGBT)-identified employees as being treated differently from all other University employees on the basis of their sexual orientation;

• Whereas as of November 2010—according to human resources information readily accessible on their respective websites—an increasing number of peer Jesuit and other Catholic colleges and universities provide LDA plans including but not limited to: DePaul University, Fordham University, Georgetown University, University of San Francisco, Loyola University-Los Angeles, Loyola University-Chicago, Santa Clara University, and Seattle University;

• Whereas Marquette’s long historical commitment to the Jesuit tradition of social justice and equity calls the University to join this group;

• Whereas failure to provide benefits in a manner that is equitable and fair to all University employees including those with LDAs is an action that is out of line with policies at public institutions, private institutions, and religious institutions with which Marquette regularly competes to attract high-quality faculty and thus makes faculty and administrator recruitment and retention increasingly difficult at Marquette;

• Whereas the provision of LDA benefits will enhance the inclusivity and quality of life of the entire Marquette community;

Be it resolved that the University Academic Senate call for the President of Marquette University, Father Robert Wild, to direct that current human resource benefits policies be amended no later than the beginning of the 2011-12 academic year to provide LDA benefits equal to the benefits currently provided to the spouses and dependents of faculty, administrators, and staff.
Here is the PDF version with all the original formatting intact.

Interestingly, this policy, if adopted, would not only provide domestic partner benefits for gay and lesbian “partners” of Marquette faculty, it would provide the same benefits for heterosexual “partners” who are living together, and aren’t willing to get married.

Our former colleague Christopher Wolfe has written a response to this motion.
The motion clearly represents an effort to reject — contrary to Catholic teaching — any distinction between a real marriage and other relationships. It would seem to apply to cohabiting heterosexual couples as well as homosexual couples. (Perhaps MU already covers the former.)

The motion also clearly would discriminate against anyone who has a blood relative living with him or her who is not a tax dependent: e.g., a mother or aunt younger than 65, who has a pension. It is predicated on a “close personal relationship,” which pretty clearly is intended to imply a sexual relationship, though they jump through hoops to avoid saying that (maybe to avoid discriminating against impotent homosexuals!).

Adopting the motion would put MU on record as minimizing or denying the essential difference between marriage and other cohabiting arrangements. That is, I believe, its very intention.

It would be best to defeat the motion entirely.

If that can’t be done, then it would be best to amend the motion to delete: in category A “ . . .has a close personal relationship with the employee (not a casual roommate or tenant . . .” and “. . . is neither legally married to anyone else nor legally related to the employee by blood in any way that would prohibit marriage, and . . .” So Category A would read:
“and shares basic living expenses, is financially interdependent with the employee, and is not receiving benefits from an employer and is not eligible for any group coverage.”
The motion is wrong when it says that the current policy “renders lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered-identified (LGBT)-identified employees as being treated differently from all other University employees on the basis of their sexual orientation.” The difference in treatment is not based on their being lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered, but rather on the basis of the fact that they are not married. [Unless, that is, MU currently pays for live-in heterosexual cohabitors. But if MU is doing that, then the motion should be amended to eliminate coverage for them, on the same grounds: the benefit was created as a family benefit, based on marriage.]

The fact is that a true commitment to social justice would require that Marquette do nothing to undermine marriage by rendering it irrelevant to fringe benefits that are based on a marital relationship. And, if the benefit is to be changed to a non-marital benefit, it should not be defined, in labyrinthine, elliptical ways, to apply only to sexual relationships (even if that would increase the cost significantly).
Of course, liberal and leftist faculty can pass a lot of motions and have them ignored by the administration.

But Fr. Wild, feeling the need to placate the gay and lesbian lobby in the wake of the Jodi O’Brien kerfuffle, may be open to such a policy.

In spite of all the blather about “social justice” and “non-discrimination,” this is simply a demand from secular faculty that Marquette subsidize sexual relationships that Church teaching says are illicit.

If Marquette adopts it, they are explicitly admitting that the “Catholic mission” of the University is nothing more than an advertising gimmick — essentially a lie.

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Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Dane County Man, Enraged by Bristol Palin, Shoots TV

We actually haven’t watched, and don’t care much about Sarah Palin’s daughter Bristol’s appearances on “Dancing With the Stars.”

But one fellow did. A Dane County man named Steven Cowan was so enraged at her presence on the show that he took his shotgun and shot his TV.

As the website The Smoking Gun described it:
As Palin . . . was dancing, Cowan “jumped up and swore, saying something to the effect of, ‘The f**king politics.’ Steven was upset that a political figure’s daughter was dancing on this particular show when Steven did not think that she was a good dancer. . . . ”

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Monday, December 06, 2010

200 Years of Human Progress



Unspoken in the video: the role of international commerce (globalization) in radically inproving living standards in the Third World. Or, what at least was the Third World. The term doesn’t apply any more to places like South Korea, and increasingly doesn’t apply to India or China.

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Thursday, December 02, 2010

Marquette Administrators and the Campus Gay Cabal: What Are They Planning for Us?

We’ve reported on the fact that Chris Miller, Vice President for Student Affairs here at Marquette, brought to campus lesbian college administrator/activist Ronnie Sanlo to serve as a “consultant” to Marquette.

The issue was very hush-hush. No notice was sent to the general faculty mailing list. It was not listed in “News Briefs” (where virtually all campus events are announced). We only learned about it via a leaked e-mail. Apparently, only gay and lesbian students and faculty, and their liberal “allies” were told about it.

But with whom did she meet?

When we learned about her visit, we asked Student Affairs for a copy of her itinerary. The Secretary in Student Affairs (Stacy Kuras, obviously acting on direction from Chris Miller) replied:
Normally, we don’t release a consultants’ itinerary. If you do have an interest in speaking with her, we will be more than happy to provide you with times in order to do so.
So we signed up for the 1:00 p.m. Friday meeting (which we knew about via the leaked e-mail) and filed a report from there. Apparently Chris Miller had calculated that letting us in would be less embarrassing than having us make a stink about being excluded.

Then, this past Monday, a student who was a strong supporter of the campus gay lobby came by our office and showed us a copy of the Sanlo itinerary. He had gotten it simply for the asking from Kuras. Under the circumstances, we called Kuras and again asked for the itinerary, pointing out that the student had it. She said she would have to “ask,” and then Tuesday it arrived in our e-mail.

Apparently, the “less embarrassing to produce the information” principle had worked again.

The PDF of the exact document we got from Student Affairs is here, but the gist of it is as fellows.
Dr. Ronni Sanlo
October 28th & 29th, 2010
Itinerary

Thursday, October 28th

8:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.
Breakfast with Dr. Christopher Miller at the Envoy in the Ambassador

9:15 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Meeting with Dr. John Pauly, Provost, Zilber Hall 448

10:00 a.m. to 10:20 a.m.
Meeting with Mr. Greg Kliebhan, Senior Vice President, Zilber Hall 435

10:20 a.m. to 10:50 a.m.
Meeting with Ms. Anne O’Brien & Dr. Toby Peters, Vice President’s Office, Zilber 435

11:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.
Meeting with Diversity Advocates, Todd Wehr Chemistry 002

12 a.m. to 12:50 p.m.
Lunch Meeting with Dr. Steven Engel & Dr. Amelia Zurcher, Tory Hill Café

1:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Meeting with Mr. Steve Frieder, Assistant to the President, Zilber Hall 441

1:30 p.m. to 1:55 p.m.
Break

2:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Meeting with Mr. Larry Rickard, MU Chief of Police, & DPS 1st floor Parking Structure, 16th St

2:40 p.m. to 3:10 p.m.
Meeting with Mr. Steve Blaha, Campus Ministry, AMU 236

3:15 p.m. to 4:55 p.m.
Break

5:00 p.m. to 5:55 p.m.
Meeting with Dr. Chris Miller, Vice President of Student Affairs, AMU 437

6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Dinner with Dr. Nancy Snow at the Knick, 1030 E Juneau Avenue*


Friday, October 29,th


8:30 a.m. to 9:25 a.m.
Meeting with the [Student Affairs] Executive Leadership Team (ELT), AMU 252

9:30 a.m. to 9:55 a.m.
Break

10 a.m. to 10:50 a.m.
Meeting with Ms. Erin Ruckoldt of GSA [Gay/Straight Alliance] & Student members, as well as the Student Organization Empowerment, AMU 230

11 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.
Meeting with Ms. Rana Altenburg, Vice President, Office of Public Affairs, 1616 W Wells

12 p.m. to 12:50 p.m.
Lunch with Marquette University Student Government (MUSG), Lunda Room

1:00 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Meeting I with various Faculty & Graduate Students, AMU 252

2:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Dr. Wellburn Collegiate Group and Diversity Advisory Committee, Zilber Hall, Conf 444

3:00 p.m. to 3:50 p.m.
Meeting II with various Faculty & Graduate Students, AMU 252

4:00 p.m. to 4:20 p.m.
Meeting with Dr. Chris Miller, Vice President of Student Affairs, AMU 437

4:20 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Conference call with Fr. Scott Pilarz

4:30 p.m.
Stacy to drive Dr. Sanlo to the Airport
The first obvious thing: virtually every top administrator at Marquette met with Sanlo. The exceptions: President Robert Wild (who sent Steve Frieder to talk to her), and Development (which would not be expected to much like initiatives that would alienate alumni).

Second, “faculty” and “students” were included, but only very carefully selected faculty and students.

Thus, when Marquette announces some new “initiative” to placate the gay lobby, it can claim that there was “extensive consultation with students and faculty.” But the “consultation” was a sham.

The Agenda

But just what do they want to do?

First, we can look at what President Fr. Robert Wild has already promised.

In a statement released in the wake of the decision not to hire lesbian Arts & Science Dean candidate Jodi O’Brien, Wild said:
I am saddened by the divisiveness this decision has caused, and, as I enter my final year as your resident, a priority focus will be continuing dialogue and reflection, among faculty, staff and students, about our Catholic, Jesuit identity and the important principles of academic freedom, shared governance and the needs of our LGBT community. I expect us to explore these topics through the research, teaching and service projects that are a part of university life, in ways that include, but certainly are not limited to, faculty summer research, faculty-student team research projects, conferences and speakers, course development, and student service‐learning projects, particularly in the areas of gender and sexuality and Catholicity in higher education. I welcome, indeed encourage, your ideas.
Some of this sounds innocuous enough. Who could object to “research projects” or “conferences and speakers” or “service-learning projects?”

In reality, however, any such initiatives are likely to have a sharp pro-homosexuality, politically correct bias. We would be astonished to, for example, see an actual campus debate on gay marriage or whether Marquette should have hired Jodi O’Brien with advocates on both sides, sharply presenting both sides of the issue.

If any such debate happens, it will probably come from a student organization, not from any Marquette bureaucrat.

Some of these things, of course, can be pursued by faculty who enjoy academic freedom to research gay issues, or to discuss such issues in courses. But it would be foolish for Marquette to fund or encourage such things.

But Wild’s list hardly exhausts the mischief that the gay agenda might involve.

A Gay & Lesbian Center.

One of the things strongly promoted by Sanlo during her meeting with faculty was a Gay and Lesbian Center. It might sound nice to “provide resources” or “meet the needs” of gay and lesbian students. But it’s unclear how those needs aren’t being met by the current Marquette bureaucracy. The Counseling Center or the Campus Ministry or Student Affairs are hardly anti-gay.

But then, maybe the “need” is simply to legitimate a homosexual lifestyle.

Domestic Partner Benefits

Marquette student government has already endorsed domestic partner benefits for the “partners” of gay and lesbian faculty and staff. Of course, since it’s illegal in Wisconsin to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, presumably the unmarried live-in partners of straight faculty would also be covered.

That would require Marquette to actually subsidize relationships that Catholic teaching holds to be illicit. But a fair number of “Catholic” colleges do this, so it’s not hard to think Marquette would.

When faculty met with Sanlo, this was one of the issues heavily promoted.

Hiring More Gay and Lesbian Faculty

We don’t expect to see any job ads from Marquette saying “candidate must be gay or lesbian” or even “gays and lesbians encouraged to apply.” But that’s not necessary. Simply advertising for a scholar doing “gender studies” is overwhelmingly likely to turn up candidates favorable to the gay lobby. Then, of course, it’s possible to skip a competitive search for an entry level position and hire a particular scholar from another institution.

Conclusion

Thus the gay lobby agenda on campus is to build an infrastructure. Not that they are lacking one already: Student Affairs, the Campus Ministry, the English and Psychology Departments (along with several others), the program in Women’s and Gender Studies and the Office of Mission and Identity are firmly on board.

The agenda is to expand the infrastructure with more courses, more hires of faculty and staff, and more symbolic concessions that (implicitly but quite clearly) renounce Catholic teaching on sexuality.

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