Staff Advisory Council
Minutes of Thursday, March 11, 2010
OFFICERS UPTOWN CAMPUS
Susan Barrera, Chair Present Kathy Bourgeois Present
Gwen Chavez, Vice Chair Present Linda Cantero Present
Rob Platner, Election Coordinator Present Liz Davey Present
Lisa Britton, Recording Secretary, Present Shirley Dymond Excused
Member at Large
Cheryl Sterling,Corresp. Secretary Present Miriam Espinosa Present
Jered Bocage, Parliamentarian Excused Mike Griffith Excused
Michael Harrison Present
DOWNTOWN CAMPUS Cynthia Hayes,Immediate Past Chair Excused
Tanya Ambrose Excused Romella Hodges
Ron Cail Absent Alysia Loshbaugh Present
Linzi Conners Excused Suzanne Lossi Present
Cheryl Dempsey Excused Aaron Martin Present
Tami Jenniskens Present Lisa O’Dwyer Excused
Paula Lucas Present Laurie Orgeron Excused
Merisa Pasternak Excused Kimberly Vega Present
Patsy Stewart Present Judy Vitrano *Present
Shirley Tubre Present Emily Capdeville (proxy) Absent
Jeannine Coxen (proxy) Absent
Simon Dorfman (proxy) Excused
Jeanny Keck (proxy) Present
Scott Goings Absent
Corrie West Present
Robert Johnson (proxy) Absent INVITED GUESTS AND VISITORS
Ruth Wilson, WFMO Present
* Via teleconference
All Officers are serving the Staff Advisory Council term 2009 – 2010
TU Staff Advisory Council Meeting March 11, 2010 Page 2
Call to Order: Susan Barrera, SAC Chair, called the March 11, 2010 meeting of the Staff
Advisory Council to order at 3:30 p.m. The meeting was held at the School of Public Health
Dean’s Conference Room in the Tidewater Building.
I. Review and Approval of the Minutes
Chair Barrera called for a motion to approve the February 11, 2010 minutes and the minutes
II. Report of the Chair, Susan Barrera
No report. Chair Barrera reminded everyone that one-third of our representatives will be rolling
off of the SAC roster. She encouraged everyone to nominate individuals to become a SAC rep.
Nominations will be in April and elections will be held in May. Officer elections will be at the
III. WFMO Liaison
Ruth Wilson, Director, Employee Support Systems gave the following WFMO responses from
our questions submitted at our last SAC meeting.
Question: For our life insurance coverage, why did we go from Met Life to Standard?
Tulane made a decision to transfer our life insurance business from MetLife to The Standard for
2010. This decision was made based on cost-savings for the University and our employees and
on significant service issues we encountered with MetLife.
We recognize that the loss of the MetLife web site has impacted some of our employees. And,
we understand how important access to personal insurance information is. In recognition of this
need, we are in the process of developing a system that will give everyone access to all of their
insurance information on-line. In the meantime, the WFMO Benefits team is available to verify
benefit amounts and/or beneficiary information as needed.
The change to the employee paychecks has been requested and should reflect Life Insurance
shortly removing the reference to MetLife.
Question: What is the turnaround time to transfer vacation hours from Vacation Transfer Pool to
the employee requesting vacation hours?
The turnaround time is typically within the same week in which the transfer request was made.
Question: What is the maximum number of hours an employee can receive from the Transfer
The maximum number of hours an employee may receive is up to 12 weeks.
Question: Is it possible to systematically transfer vacation hours in excess of the maximum
accrual to the Vacation Transfer Pool?
The University respects the individual employee’s right to use Vacation time at their own
discretion. It is up to the individual employee to decide whether to donate time to the pool.
TU Staff Advisory Council Meeting March 11, 2010 Page 3
Question: Can WFMO periodically notify SAC of the Vacation Transfer Pool balance?
The pool balance fluctuates so frequently and is used so quickly that an outstanding balance
report would typically show zero hours. A report would not provide useful or actionable
Question: Can SAC communicate information to staff encouraging them to submit vacation
hours to the Vacation Transfer Pool?
The Vacation Transfer Pool is described in the Staff Handbook. As solicitation for vacation
hours is prohibited, past practice of relying on the Staff Handbook will continue.
Question: Can WFMO alert employees who are in danger of forfeiting vacation hours?
WFMO communicates vacation hours balance on every pay stub.
Question: What is the FMLA application process? Should the supervisor be notified when an
employee applies for FMLA?
The supervisor is notified by WFMO when an employee requests FMLA paperwork and when a
FMLA leave is approved or denied. The details of the medical condition are not shared with the
supervisor. Under the FMLA, employees seeking to use FMLA leave are required to provide
30-day advance notice of the need to take FMLA leave when the need is foreseeable; this
includes the supervisor of the employee. This is so that the supervisor may be able to make
preparations for work to continue while the employee is out on FMLA leave.
IV. Officer Reports
A. University Senate
No report. Meeting was held in the Murphy Building and Dr. Ben Sachs gave a brief talk
about the simulation center. Entire meeting was brief.
B. Board of Administrators
No report, the Board meets next week.
V. University Senate Committee Reports
2. Budget Review
3. Information Technology
4. Equal Opportunity
No report, meeting will be held tomorrow.
5. Physical Facilities
No meeting, next meeting will be on April 6th.
TU Staff Advisory Council Meeting March 11, 2010 Page 4
6. Social Issues
VI. SAC Sub-Committees
1. Election Committee
Rob Platner reported the online nomination form is on the SAC website. He asked all SAC
members to encourage coworkers to consider running to become a SAC representative. Rob
will have more information at our April meeting. Elections will be in May and elections of the
officer positions will be in June.
2. Electronic Technology and Information
3. Staff Appreciation
Rob Platner and Lisa Britton thanked everyone for their help at the event. Rob then gave a
recap of the Family Fun Day event that was held on Feb 27th.
The event was nice but unfortunately the night before the event we had some bad weather. The
weather played a big part in many people not showing up for the event. Overall we did a great
job and would like to see the event become a yearly event. The people that did attend all
seemed to enjoy the event.
Day before event we had approx 500 people registered. Approx 125 people showed up to
participate and we had 19 SAC reps volunteer to help out.
Food – Mr. Mudbugs was very generous in donating seafood pasta dish and also provided
a food server, Mike, who stayed the entire time serving the pasta. Olive Blue Catering
supplied the other food for 300 people.
Athletics -- Jason Potuto was a tremendous help – he ordered the tents / inflatables for the
kids, Jason was there the entire time to assist us in any way. He offered that if we have
this event again, Athletics would like to be a part of it. Athletics supplied us with 250 tickets
for the game and unfortunately we don’t’ know the actual number of participants from the
walk who then attended the game.
The giveaways at the event were a big hit. In addition to the items purchased by SAC,
Corrie West donated items from the Primate Center. Linda Cantero did face painting which
was also a big hit with the kids.
A staff member Jonathan Jouet, did a great job as DJ for the event.
Gina Fortado, also a staff member, sang the national anthem at the start of the baseball
WFMO asked United Way to come to our event. United Way is offering to raffle a poster
done by George Rodrigue showing his “Blue Dog” and Drew Brees together. This poster
was donated with the intention of it going to a Tulane employee. To be eligible for the
drawing, an employee needs to pledge a minimum of $50 to United Way campaign.
For prizes we had a signed baseball from the 2010 baseball team, two umbrellas. We
purchased ten - $5.00 food vouchers from Toulouse Gourmet (the food vendor at the
stadium) and gave out as prizes.
4. Staff Issues
TU Staff Advisory Council Meeting March 11, 2010 Page 5
5. Health and Wellness
Judy Vitrano reported:
10-K a day is going on right now. They had 365 people register to participate and
approximately 220 people are actively recording their steps. There are incentives at the 6-
week mark for 30 people to receive a $25 gift card, and at end of the program another 30
people will be picked to receive a $50 gift card. At the end of the program, five people with
the highest step count will receive a $150 gift card.
Upcoming seminars being held at the different campuses: “Natural Energy Boosters” and
another one “Aging Well”.
Seminar will be given by Dr. Gourmet on “Eating Healthy and Losing Weight”.
Erica Taylor sent out surveys about the different wellness programs to ask what people liked
and didn’t like. Committee discussed the major issues that came up from the survey results.
Some examples: Some people were frustrated because didn’t have enough time to
participate; Another complaint was all programs seem to be targeted only on “walking”;
another suggestion was offered to have every participant receive something for
participating, not just those with the highest numbers or the “drawings”.
The committee is now trying to come up with some other programs to target those people
who are already active.
6. Community Service
VI. Old Business
Aaron Martin presented the SAC “Domestic Partner Policies Resolution” (see Attachment 1).
After brief discussion, the SAC resolution was unanimously voted to submit to WFMO for their
VIII. New Business
Next Meeting: The next meeting will be held on Thursday, April 8, 2010 at the Lavin-Bernick
Center at 3:30 pm.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:35 pm.
Lisa M. Britton
Domestic Partner Policies Resolution
Staff Advisory Council
Approved: March 11, 2010
Whereas, Tulane University is committed to attracting and retaining the best and brightest faculty and
Whereas, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC), in a 2008 national study examining workplace
climate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees, found that acknowledging an
LGBT employee’s partner and family — in the same ways non-LGBT families are acknowledged — has
a “significant impact.” Furthermore, the existence of inclusive employment policies, benefits and other
practices affect the degree to which LGBT employees are open at work. Employees who are more open at
work experience fewer negative outcomes from their workplace environment. These negative outcomes
affect productivity, retention and professional relationships.1
Whereas, Tulane’s domestic partner policies have not evolved in recent years with other universities’
domestic partner policies and several obligations such as residence and financial are beyond what other
civil unions would require.
Whereas, the current policy does not recognize the existence of same-sex marriage, same-sex civil unions
or domestic partnerships offered by some geographic regions of the U.S.
SAMPLE OF TULANE UNIVERSITY’ CURRENT DECLARATION CRITERIA
1. We are each other’s sole domestic partner and intend to remain so indefinitely.
2. We are of the same sex and neither one of us is married.
3. We are at least eighteen (18) years of age and mentally competent to consent to a contract.
4. Neither of us has been legally married within the last twelve months.
5. We are currently residing together in the same principal residence, have done so for the last six (6)
months, and intend to do so indefinitely.
6. We are not related by blood or marriage to a degree of closeness that would prohibit legal marriage in
the state in which we reside.
7. We are jointly responsible for each other’s common welfare and share financial obligations. In
addition, Employee and Partner have a lawful and substantial economic interest in having the life, health
or bodily safety of each other continue, as provided by La.R.S. 22:613C (2)2. We agree to maintain on
file with Tulane University current evidence documenting that joint responsibility for each other’s
common welfare and financial obligations by the existence of at least three (3) of the requirements listed
__ Joint ownership of real estate (e.g. deed), joint mortgage, or joint lease;
__ Joint ownership of one or more automobiles (e.g. title);
__ Joint bank accounts and/or other financial instruments (e.g. accountant statement, independent
financial statements) having a value of at least $25,000 or 30% of the combined net assets of
Employee and Partner, whichever is less;
RS 22:613: 613. Company-action level event C. The risk-based capital plan shall be submitted: (2) Within forty-five
days after notification to the insurer that the department has rejected the dispute by an insurer.
__Designation of Partner as the primary beneficiary in Employee’s will
(e.g. a copy of a valid will); or
_ Designation by either of us of the other as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy or retirement
contract having a death benefit of at least $25,000 (e.g. a copy of the policy or contract).
SAMPLE OF UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA DECLARATION CRITERIA (6/14/05)
1. We are engaged in a committed relationship and intend to remain together indefinitely;
2. We are the same sex and for this reason are unable to marry each other under Minnesota law;
3. We are at least 18 years of age and have the capacity to enter into a contract;
4. We are jointly responsible to each other for the necessities of life;
5. We are not related by blood closer than permitted under Minnesota marriage laws;
6. The children identified above qualify as dependents under IRS regulations.
Whereas, a change should not have any significant impact on the university’s budget and is within the
law, both federal and state.
The Staff Advisory Council recommends that Tulane University revise its policies to be more equitable
and accessible in relation to domestic partners.
Affidavit of Domestic Partnership
1. We are each other’s sole domestic partner and intend to remain together indefinitely;
2. We are the same sex and for this reason are unable to marry each other in the state in which we reside;
3. We are at least eighteen (18) years of age and have the capacity to enter into a contract;
4. We are jointly responsible to each other for the necessities of life;
5. We are not related by blood to a degree of closeness that would prohibit legal marriage in the state in
which we reside.
6. The children identified above qualify as dependents under IRS regulations.
7. We share a common residence. We are considered to share a common residence even if any of the
following conditions apply:
a. Only one partner has legal ownership of the residence (if ownership is applicable).
b. One or both partners have additional residences not shared with the other partner.
c. One partner leaves the common residence with the intent to return.
Item 1- minor reword
Item 2 – revised to accommodate that some LGBT employees can have a legal same-sex marriage
in certain geographic locations.
Item 3 - minor reword
Item 4 – remove
Item 5 – remove
Item 6 > Item 5 - reword
Item 7 remove; add new residence
New Item 4 – necessities of life
New Item 6 - children
We also recommend that the Affidavit of Domestic Partnership be simplified (e.g., like the University of
Proof of Domestic Partnership, Civil Union or Marriage
Also, the Staff Advisory Council recommends in lieu of an Affidavit of Domestic Partnership, that proof
of registered same-sex domestic partnership or civil union with a government agency or office where such
registration is available, would qualify for requesting domestic partnership benefits, including health care.
Staff Advisory Council recommends the following changes to the Staff Handbook:
B. Tuition Waiver Program 1. Eligibility section does not include “registered domestic
partners”. Item ‘b” should read:
b. After an employee described in subparagraph (i) completes three (3) years of full-time
continuous service at the University, the spouse or registered domestic partner, and dependent children
of such employees.
Also section B. Tuition Waiver Program 2. Benefit and 3. Procedures should include “registered
C. Extended Tuition Waiver Program 1. Eligibility b. Spouses and Dependent Children
should include “registered domestic partners”.
Other related sections should be updated, also.
D. Sick Leave** 1. section does not acknowledge domestic partners. The first paragraph should
The purpose of sick leave is to provide leave for you to treat and/or recover from personal illness
or to tend to the illness of an immediate family member (a child, parent, domestic partner or legal
spouse) which requires your personal attention.
E. Bereavement Leave** does not acknowledge domestic partners. The first paragraph should
You are allowed a paid period of leave in the event of a death in your immediate family. For
purposes of bereavement leave, “immediate family” means child, parent, sibling, legal spouse,
domestic partner, parent-in-law, grandparent, grandchild or stepfamily member.
Also, change “parent-in-law” to “parent of spouse or registered domestic partner”
**Sick leave and bereavement leave should not require registration for domestic partners and should not
be limited to same-sex partners.
G. Family and Medical Leave does not acknowledge registered domestic partners. Although
federal law currently does not require coverage for caring for registered domestic partners, Tulane should
make every effort to provide such support.