UT Faculty Prods Chancellor on Same-sex Benefits

University of Tennessee Chancellor Jimmy Cheek defended himself Monday as faculty members asked pointed questions about why the administration refused to work toward providing health care and other benefits to unmarried same-sex and opposite-sex couples.
More from the News Sentinel:
Members of the Faculty Senate pressed Cheek on why he wouldn’t lobby the Legislature to change current laws, why the school couldn’t offer financial compensation for faculty whose partners aren’t eligible for health care, and why the school couldn’t offer other benefits, such as tuition compensation, for employees’ partners.
“We always have to weigh, anytime we bring something to the General Assembly and board of trustees, the probability of it being supported and whether or not it will compromise other things we’re trying to get done,” Cheek said. “We just don’t see a way forward.”
He declined to outline how his former institution, the University of Florida, found a way to work around a conservative state government to offer domestic partner benefit packages. He also refused to say why UT couldn’t offer tuition reimbursements.
Though he didn’t want to respond to these questions publicly, Cheek did offer to sit down individually with those who wanted more detailed explanations
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