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Domestic partner benefits: President Simon’s statement

In December 2011, Gov. Rick Snyder signed the Public Employee Domestic Partner Benefit Restriction Act. Prior to the governor’s action, there was much speculation on how, or whether, the new law would affect MSU and other public universities.

In an explanatory statement released at the signing, the governor made clear his position that Michigan’s universities are not subject to the law – thus recognizing the MSU Board of Trustees’ constitutional authority in compensation matters. Michigan State anticipates no change to our benefit programs as a consequence of the new law.

I joined my fellow presidents at the University of Michigan and Wayne State University in December, in fact, in a letter to the governor to express our deep concern about this legislation. Like the many companies that likewise went on record opposing it, I believe such restrictions would be harmful to our organization and indeed to the broader interests of the people of Michigan.

MSU’s compensation and benefit programs are designed to recruit and retain highly qualified and talented faculty and staff, people for whom we compete against other employers across the country and the world. Such competitiveness, we believe, is crucial to success in the global knowledge economy of the 21st century. Importantly, such benefits policies also reflect Michigan State’s core values of quality, inclusiveness, and connectivity.

—President Lou Anna K. Simon