Staff, Faculty Respond To Duke Affirming Same-Sex Benefits

Duke community members applaud continued stance on same-sex partner benefits

The Working@Duke Facebook page received a strong reaction from its
The Working@Duke Facebook page received a strong reaction from its "fans" after posting a story affirming Duke's stance that the vote will not impact same-sex partner benefits for faculty and staff.

Following passage of a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, Duke community members have begun an outpouring of support for Duke's affirmation that the outcome of the vote will not impact same-sex partner benefits for faculty and staff.

In the weeks before the May 8 vote on Amendment One, Duke administration stated they "stand alongside the LGBT community in seeking a more equal world," and have a "strong commitment" to "eliminate discrimination and promote equality."

"Duke was one of the first employers to make benefits available to same sex partners in 1994 as a way to be inclusive and supportive of the needs of all faculty and staff, and this support will continue," Kyle Cavanaugh, vice president of administration at Duke, said in a memo to Duke deans, directors, managers and others.

News of Duke's commitment to its long-standing policy to extend same-sex partner benefits spread quickly Wednesday through Duke employee news outlets, including social media channels.

A Duke Today story announcing Duke's commitment to same-sex benefit eligibility received just over 2,100 views in the first 10 hours it was posted. On Facebook and Twitter, employees expressed their appreciation for Duke's stance. Responses on a Working@Duke Facebook post include 65 "likes" and 159 "shares" as of 3:40 p.m. Wednesday.

"I am proud to have worked for many years and retired from Duke University," Rachel Garrett wrote on the Working@Duke Facebook wall.

Bridget Fletcher, student services officer at the Pratt School of Engineering, said she took to Facebook because she was proud of Duke for being progressive.

"It offers me a sense of pride because I'm contributing my time and efforts to an organization that supports me and all my coworkers equally," she said. "That motivates me as an employee to know I'm at a place that supports everyone."

Joe Holloman echoed Fletcher's thoughts, saying that Duke's commitment to same-sex partner benefits is a reason he sees Duke as one of the best employers in North Carolina.

"It's a real testament that Duke cares about not just its current community, but potential candidates," said Holloman, senior accounting clerk with Auxiliary Finance. "By offering these types of benefits, it ensures that Duke will get a better selection of people to come work here because we want the best and brightest."

Duke community members past and present also shared their thoughts on Twitter:

[<a href="http://storify.com/WorkingatDuke/amendment-one-not-expected-to-affect-sa..." target="_blank">View the story "Amendment One Not Expected To Affect Same-Sex Benefits at Duke" on Storify</a>]