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Thursday, May 23
The Indiana Daily Student

BFC discusses benefits, budget

Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs Eliza Pavalko speaks about a member that died during the Bloomington Faculty Council meeting Tuesday afternoon in Presidents Hall.

The Bloomington Faculty Council gathered to discuss a benefits committee report, proposed changes to the bylaws and a report from the budgetary affairs committee at its meeting Tuesday.

Jim Sherman, IU professor of psychological and brain sciences, gave a report from the benefits committee.

Sherman said the report is important because many faculty members are uninformed about their benefits, as well as the issues surrounding their benefits.

“In my opinion, at least, one of the most important things that involve you all is the benefit package that you have available to you, consisting primarily for us of health care benefits and retirement benefits,” Sherman said.

Sherman began his report by explaining the recent resolution regarding same-sex domestic partners. It eliminates benefits for same-sex domestic partners because, as of July 2015, they now can legally marry in all 50 states.

The Board of Trustees adopted this resolution during their last meeting Oct. 8 and 9.

The resolution led to discussion and questions from members of the council, including to whom the resolution was showing fairness and why it was decided so quickly.

When time ran out for the discussion, David Fisher, BFC chair of the constitution and rules committee, said council members who do not agree with this resolution should tell the benefits committee about it.

“I think the benefits committee seemed to think this was an easier decision than many of us think it was,” Fisher said.

Along with this resolution, the benefits report also included statistics and information about IU’s employee healthcare program and the 2016 employee plans.

More than 46,000 lives are affected by IU’s healthcare program, including those of 17,800 full-time employees, 3,400 graduate assistants, 1,200 medical residents and any spouses or children they may have.

Also in this report were results of a Mercer Consulting benchmark analysis of employee medical and dental plans.

Mercer used the two most recent years of data and targeted two benchmark groups: Indiana employers with more than 5,000 employees and the Big Ten and AAU.

“What they found was actually quite nice,” Sherman said.

The results showed IU’s benefit plan costs are managed effectively and overall per employee claim cost trends are at or below benchmarks, according to the presentation.

As he finished the report, Sherman discussed the budget for IU’s employees, including a 5.3-percent increase in IU’s contribution to full-time employee health care.

To conclude the meeting, Robert Kravchuk and Elizabeth Housworth, BFC co-chairs of the budgetary affairs committee, began a discussion on the budgetary affairs committee.

They began by describing the job of the BAC, which is to advise the provost on where she should allocate her funds.

IU Provost Lauren Robel continued the discussion by giving a presentation on where she did allocate her funds.

The Provost Fund priorities included career advising, leveraging academic scale and scope, diversity in students and faculty, international programs and study abroad, online graduate programs, other strategic plan initiatives and schools and programs.

Overall, the provost allocated $6,132,272 in base funds and $5,045,144 in cash funds.

Robel also commented on how the provost’s funds and the For All: The IU Bicentennial Campaign are connected. They both have similar goals to attract outside funding and support for the University.

“I think it’s a real opportunity for us to provide support for our students and faculty in ways that we need to be able to do,” Robel said.

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