Columbia University in the City of New York      New York, N.Y  10027
  VICE PRESIDENT FOR HUMAN RESOURCES                     311 Dodge Hall

TO: All Faculty and Staff 
FROM: Colleen Crooker 
DATE: August 7, 1995 
RE: Extension of Fringe Benefits to Same-Sex Domestic Partners 

As you know, effective September 1, 1995 Columbia University will extend full fringe benefits to qualified same-sex domestic partners of benefits eligible active faculty, officers and support staff not covered by a collective bargaining agreement. The benefits currently available to the spouse and/or dependents of employees identified above will be available to same-sex domestic partners and dependents of employees who meet eligibility requirements.

For eligibility under this policy, the employee's partner must be an adult of the same gender, not related by blood, and not eligible for coverage through Columbia as an employee. The employee and partner must have lived together in a committed personal relationship for at least six consecutive months before applying for a particular benefit. Additionally, the employee and partner must anticipate continuing to live together in a personal relationship in which both partners have joint and reciprocal financial responsibilities.

To participate in any of Columbia's fringe benefits programs under this extension employees will be required to provide any two pieces of documentation that show shared financial responsibilities. Acceptable documentation includes:

Once the partnership has been documented, dependents of same-sex domestic partners will be required to provide a birth certificate, adoption papers or guardianship papers in order to participate in any of these fringe benefit programs.

Please note, if you have provided acceptable documentation for enrollment in our Health Care program, it is not necessary to establish partnership again.

Tuition exemption for dependents now includes same-sex domestic partners and their children. The IRS does not consider benefits given to same-sex domestic partners and their dependents as exempt from taxes. As long as it holds to that interpretation of the Internal Revenue Code the University must report any tuition exemption and primary school scholarships as taxable income to the employee and take the value of those benefits into account in calculating the amount of taxes withheld from the employee's salary or wages. For further details, call (212) 854-3817 or visit the Tuition Benefits Office at 401 Low Library.

There will be a special open enrollment period scheduled from August 14-25, 1995 to enroll same-sex domestic partners for dental coverage effective September 1, 1995. For further information and applications to enroll, please contact the Benefits Office in 313 Dodge or call (212) 854-2360.

If there is a change in status that would make the same-sex domestic partner and/or children no longer eligible for fringe benefits, the appropriate office (indicated above) must be notified within 30 days of the event.