Ohio State University's board of trustees has extended full benefits to same-sex domestic partners of faculty and staff members and their children. The plan is expected to cost nearly $1 million annually. Ohio State executive vice president Barbara Snyder said the school has not determined how it will pay
for the benefits but that no state money will be used. Snyder said she expects 50 to 100 people to take advantage of the benefits, which include medical, dental, and vision plans. The university will pay 85% of the cost, as it does for other university employees. "It was a brave step. Whether or not you are in favor of gay rights, this is great for the university," said Douglas J. Whaley, an Ohio State law professor and gay rights activist.
Students and their same-sex domestic partners as well as the children of those couples also will be eligible for coverage. The university will not pay for that coverage. In late June, Miami University and Ohio University became the state's first public colleges to offer full health benefits to domestic partners. Since then, Cleveland State University has announced plans to add domestic-partner benefits. Snyder said the move Friday was necessary to keep Ohio State competitive with other schools. Board chairman Tami Longaberger said President Karen A. Holbrook talked with board members individually about the issue and that it was discussed in the past by student and faculty groups. "We have already heard from a variety of people on this," Longaberger said, adding that she was sure faculty and staff members support the move.