UC LGBT Task Force Recommendations

In 2014, the University of California LGBT Task Force produced a list of recommendations designed to create a more welcoming and inclusive campus for LGBT students, faculty and staff. These recommendations include:

  • Collection of Data on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Gender Expression (Implementation of Assembly Bill 620)
  • Name Change Policies in Campus Student Systems
  • Gender Inclusive Restroom Policies & Practices
  • Support of the Bisexual Community
  • Cultural Competency Training Program
  • Community-Based Counselors
  • Enhancement of Academic Initiatives on Genders and Sexualities
  • Tax Equalization of Domestic Partner Employee Benefits

The current work of GISOI is focused on researching and promoting the implementation of these recommendations at UC San Diego.

Collection of Data on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Gender Expression

The Task Force was specifically charged with providing recommendations for the implementation of California Assembly Bill 620, which Governor Jerry Brown signed in October 2011. This recommendation responds to one provision of AB 620, which requests that the University of California allow faculty, staff and students to identify their sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression on any forms used to collect other aggregate demographic data, including gender, race and identity.

Recommendation of the UC LGBT Task Force

The UC LGBT Task Force supports AB 620 legislation which requests that faculty, staff and students be allowed to identify their sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Meeting this legislative request will provide UC with meaningful population data necessary for targeting resources and other support. In addition, providing the opportunity for members of the LGBT community to self-identify supports the University’s priorities of creating an inclusive and welcoming campus environment across the UC system. The Task Force recommends that UC move forward with the voluntary collection of data on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression for undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff.

The LGBT Task Force further recommends that the University support and lead an initiative to change current federal reporting options to allow for a broader category of gender identity in the accumulation and reporting of demographic data.

Lastly, the Task Force requests that the President recommend adoption by the UC Regents of an amendment to the UC Diversity Statement (Regents Policy 4400) that includes “gender expression” among the list of diversity categories.

Details on the recommendation to allow the voluntary collection of data on sexual orientation and gender identity

  • For graduate and undergraduate students, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression data should be collected through admission applications as soon as administratively possible, but no later than the 2016-17 admission cycle.
  • For faculty and staff, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression data should be collected on employment applications.
  • As with all demographic questions, providing sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression data should be voluntary, optional and, as required by law, not impact employment or admissions decisions.
  • Data collected should be included on the student or personnel record, unless the student or employee opts for “only aggregate” reporting.
  • To protect student privacy, include authorization language in admission applications that students can select in order to authorize the University of California to release gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation information to recognized UC organizations and alumni groups after admission decisions are made.
  • Current or matriculated students and employees should be provided an opportunity to add sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression data to their current records.
  • Students and employees should be provided an avenue for updating or changing self-reported sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression data.

Details on the recommendation for UC to lead an advocacy effort to change federal reporting procedures

The Higher Education Act of 1965 (as amended) requires that those institutions of higher education that participate in federal student aid programs report a variety of data, which are then made available to students and parents through the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). As a recipient of federal Title IV financial aid funds, UC is required to gather and report demographic data for undergraduate and graduate students, including gender data.  IPEDS, however, utilizes a narrow definition of gender and recognizes and accepts only “male” and “female” as gender categories. IPEDS provides institutions with the discretion to decide how best to handle reporting individuals whose gender is unknown. UC’s long-term practice has been to report all instances of unknown student gender as male (approximately 150 per year).  This eliminates the need to assign estimated percentages of males or females to instances of unknown gender, which would require a great deal of manual data entry multiple times per year.

Recommended Questions for the Collection of Data

Concerning Gender Identity

The Task Force recommends a two-step question protocol for gender identity data collection. This approach was developed in 1997 by the Transgender Health Advocacy Coalition in Philadelphia, PA. The Center of Excellence for Transgender Health at UC San Francisco began advocating the use of the two-step protocol in 2007, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention adopted it in 2011.

This protocol involves first querying the respondent’s current gender identity, followed by a second question that asks the respondent to state their sex assigned at birth. Research has shown that, together, these two variables accurately reflect the current gender in which the respondent is living and functioning socially.

Recommended two-step question protocol:

What is your current gender identity? (only one selection is allowed)

  • Male
  • Female
  • Trans male/Trans man
  • Trans female/Trans woman
  • Genderqueer/Gender non-conforming
  • Different identity

What sex were you assigned at birth, such as on an original birth certificate?

  • Male
  • Female

Why a two-step protocol? For transgender people, asking gender identity first emphasizes that this parameter tends to be more important than assigned sex at birth. A September 2012 study by Charlotte Chuck Tate, Jay N. Ledbetter, and Cris P. Youssef (Department of Psychology, San Francisco State University) demonstrated that this approach – as compared to a single question approach – provides more accurate demographic data while increasing rates of identification of transgender individuals.

Furthermore, the two-step approach minimizes confusion among, and misclassification of non- transgender people who may be unfamiliar with the concept of gender identity. Research by Kristen Schilt and Jenifer L. Bratter found that 25 percent of self-identified transgender people select “transgender” when also presented with the options of “male” and “female” and when only one answer option is allowed. The addition of question two also provides the University the information needed to comply with federal reporting standards and overcoming the practice of reporting as “male” any respondent who identifies as other than “male” or “female.”

Concerning Gender Expression

The Task Force recommends a two-question survey to assess gender conformity/non-conformity for the purpose of gathering data on gender expression. Gender conformity/non-conformity would be measured by comparing answers to each of these two items to current gender identity. Those who score as gender non-conforming on one or both items would be categorized as gender non-conforming in a measure of gender expression.

Recommended two-item protocol:

A person’s appearance, style or dress may affect the way people think of them. On average, how do you think people would describe your appearance, style or dress? (Mark one answer.)

  • Very feminine
  • Mostly feminine
  • Somewhat feminine
  • Equally feminine and masculine
  • Somewhat masculine
  • Mostly masculine
  • Very masculine

A person’s mannerisms (such as the way they walk or talk) may affect the way people think of them. On average, how do you think people would describe your mannerisms?  (Mark one answer.)

  • Very feminine
  • Mostly feminine
  • Somewhat feminine
  • Equally feminine and masculine
  • Somewhat masculine
  • Mostly masculine
  • Very masculine

Concerning Sexual Orientation

Best practices recommend against including the terms “sexual orientation” or “identity” in the stem of the question to avoid confusing respondents. The protocol that the LGBT Task Force is recommending was developed by researchers at the National Center for Health Statistics, where it has undergone cognitive testing. The recommended protocol utilizes the word “consider” to match the format of common questions assessing race and ethnicity.

Recommended protocol:

Do you consider yourself to be:

  • Heterosexual or straight
  • Gay or lesbian
  • Bisexual

Data Collection Disclaimer

The Task Force recommends a disclaimer be included when collecting sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression data to clearly state that data will not be used in admissions or employment evaluation or decisions and that providing information is voluntary and optional.

Specific Population Recommendations/Actions

Undergraduate Students 

In May 2013, the Washington State Student Services Commission LGBTQ Student Success Initiative concluded that collecting these data would allow colleges to know more about their students’ progress and academic success. As a result, colleges will be better prepared to design and develop curricular and co-curricular offerings that reflect their students' diverse perspectives, and that promote a safe and welcoming learning environment for all students.

Immediate Action: In 2012, the UC Academic Senate Board on Admissions & Relations with Schools (BOARS) recommended that the University allow undergraduate applicants to self-identify sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression on the Statement of Intent to Register (SIR) and requested that such information not be collected through the admission application. The Task Force, however, understands that UC collects aggregate undergraduate student demographic data at the time of application through the undergraduate admission application. The SIR is not centrally administered, but rather, administered campus-by-campus. In addition, the SIR forms are not utilized to collect demographic data.

The Task Force, therefore, recommends that UC move forward with allowing undergraduate applicants to voluntarily provide sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression data on the undergraduate admission application as soon as administratively possible, but no later than the 2016-17 admissions cycle. These data should also be collected in other forms where demographic questions are included.

For all current students (graduate and undergraduate), the Task Force recommends that the University provide the opportunity to self-identity sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression through online campus student portals, or an alternate method determined by the campus.

Students should also be provided an avenue to update or change sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression data through online campus student portals, or an alternate method determined by the campus.

The Task Force recommends that these data be included in the student registration record, unless the student opts for exclusion. If the student opts for exclusion from their personal record, these data should be maintained in aggregate form at the campus, systemwide and student classification levels.

Task Assigned to: UC Vice President – Student Affairs Judy Sakaki.

Graduate Students

Immediate Action: The Task Force recommends that UC provide the opportunity for graduate and professional students to voluntarily self-identify sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression on campus applications for graduate admissions for new graduate students.  The Task Force further recommends that the UC Office of the President engage with the Executive Vice Chancellors/Provosts and campus graduate division deans regarding appropriate alternatives or additional avenues for collection.

For current graduate and professional students, the Task Force recommends that UC provide the opportunity for students to self-identify sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression through campus student portals, or an alternative method determined by the campus.

Students should also be provided an avenue to update sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression data through campus student portals, or an alternate method determined by the campus.

The Task Force recommends these data be included in the student registration record, unless the student opts for exclusion. If the student opts for exclusion from their personal record, these data should be maintained in aggregate form at the campus, systemwide and student classification levels.

Task Assigned to: UC Vice President – Office of Research and Graduate Studies Steve Beckwith, UC Vice President – Student Affairs Judy Sakaki, and UC Graduate Division Deans.

Further Discussion: The Task Force affirms that UC should provide the opportunity for graduate and professional students to voluntarily self-identify sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression on all forms where other demographic questions are included. Such inclusion should occur as campuses update forms.

Task Assigned to: UC Vice President – Office of Research and Graduate Studies Steve Beckwith, UC Vice President – Student Affairs Judy Sakaki, and UC Graduate Division Deans.

Employees

Immediate Action: The Task Force recommends that the University provide the opportunity for all new employees, including faculty and other academics, to voluntarily self-identify sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression when collecting other demographic information on employee forms, and recommends the President request that UC Human Resources immediately provide such an opportunity.

For current employees, the Task Force recommends that UC Human Resources and UC Academic Personnel develop an opportunity for employees to include sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression in their employee record, and allow either reporting only in the aggregate or individually tied to the personnel record.

Employees should also be provided an avenue to update or change sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression data via a method determined by the campus Human Resource office or UC Human Resources.

The Task Force further recommends that data be maintained on the individual employee record, unless the employee opts for exclusion. If the employee opts for exclusion from their personal record, such data should be maintained in aggregate at the campus, systemwide and employee classification levels.

  • Faculty Only: The Task Force recommends that the University allow faculty to self-identify sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression via a method determined by the campus Human Resource office or UC Human Resources.

Task Assigned to: UC Vice President – Human Resources Dwaine Duckett and UC Vice Provost – Academic Personnel Susan Carlson.

Further Discussion: The Task Force affirms that UC provide the opportunity for employees, including faculty and other academics, to voluntarily self-identify sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression on all forms where other demographics are collected. Such inclusion should occur in the normal campus update cycle for such forms.

Task Assigned to: UC Vice President-Human Resources Dwaine Duckett and UC Vice Provost – Academic Personnel Susan Carlson.

Background: Data Collection

Preliminary research by the Task Force found that at least two universities, one college, and one state two-year college system collect sexual orientation and gender identity data on the undergraduate application, including the University of Iowa, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Elmhurst College, and Washington State Community and Technical College System. The New York Times reported on July 30, 2013, that the law schools at Boston University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Washington have also added questions about sexual orientation to their applications (“The Gay Question: Check One,” by Samantha Stainburn).

Background: Assembly Bill 620

In October 2011, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 620, “Seth’s Law,” requesting that the University of California Board of Regents adopt policies that discourage bullying and harassment of gay and lesbian students. It also asks, but does not require, UC campuses to allow students and staff "to identify their sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression" on any forms used to collect such other demographic data as race and national origin.In addition, AB 620 requests that the University take specific actions related to campus policies and services, and training programs related to LGBT students, faculty and staff. It also requests that UC add sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression to University and campus anti-discrimination policies.

AB 620 also specifically requests that the UC Board of Regents do the following:

  • Adopt policies on harassment, intimidation, and bullying to be included within the rules and regulations governing student behavior.
  • Designate an employee at each of their respective campuses to address the needs of LGBT faculty, staff, and students, and publish the designee's name and contact information on the website for the respective campus and in any print and internet-based campus directories.
  • Develop and implement professional development and awareness training programs that meet the following requirements: 1) Train faculty to generate a curriculum that is inclusive of all students; 2) Provide strategies for addressing the harassment of LGBT students in and out of the classroom; 3) Provide campus public safety officers with training regarding hate crimes and harassment directed toward LGBT persons; 4) Train financial aid advisors with respect to the availability of scholarships specific to LGBT persons, and provide training on how to assist students with same-sex parents in completing financial aid applications; and 5) Incorporate other content relevant to LGBT persons as appropriate.

Inclusion of Gender Identity & Gender Expression in Policy Statements: In addition, AB 620 legislation revised state nondiscrimination policies to add “gender expression” as a designated category. UC currently does not include “gender expression” in all student codes of conduct policies (campuses maintain campus policies) nor academic personnel policies dealing with non-discrimination or harassment, and the UC Diversity statement does not include “gender expression.” The UC staff nondiscrimination policy was revised in 2012 to include “gender expression.” UC policies currently include “sexual orientation” and, in 2010, at the request of President Yudof, acting on a recommendation of the UC Lavender Paper, policies were revised to include “gender identity.”

Name Change Policies in Campus Student Systems

One of the LGBT Working Group’s recommendations was to provide an equitable and inclusive climate for transgender individuals. This includes creating opportunities for transgender students to self-identify, as well as developing policies and procedures for responding sensitively and knowledgeably to the discrimination experienced by members of the transgender community.

Recommendation of the UC LGBT Task Force

Transgender students who have not legally changed their names currently appear in the Registrar’s Office and associated student systems on some UC campuses with names that do not reflect their current gender identity. The systems involved in this include, but are not limited to, student IDs, class schedules and rosters, course management systems, health services, dining facilities, student housing, and other auxiliary services. When these systems disclose a name that does not reflect a student’s current gender identity to campus faculty, teaching assistants, staff or fellow students, that student is in effect “outed” as transgender in these quotidian exchanges. This often serves as an ongoing source of anxiety for transgender students and puts them at greater risk to harassment, ridicule, and other forms of bullying that contribute to a hostile campus climate.

To address this issue, the LGBT Task Force recommends that all UC campuses adjust their current student record systems (if they haven’t done so already) to enable transgender students to self-identify with a preferred name and to reduce negative consequences for enrolled students. Software fixes have been developed for Banner, PeopleSoft, and Datatel programs to make this change possible. While not all campuses use the same student record systems software, the LGBT Task Force recommends that the Chancellors on each campus investigate whether a software upgrade or modification to existing software would be more cost effective.

Once campus computer systems have been updated, each campus should transmit the preferred name of a transgender student, and not the legal name, to all downstream systems that currently feed from campus Registrars. This includes, but is not limited to, class schedules and rosters, students IDs, unofficial transcripts, online campus directories and forums, and other associated systems that require disclosure of a student’s name.  Systems that receive preferred names should use the preferred names in the place of legal names. In addition, a preferred name should not be flagged as an “other” name to faculty, teaching assistants, staff or students who access the system. The legal name should only be accessible to the staff of the Registrar’s Office.

The LGBT Task Force also recommends that campus personnel who have access to legal names of transgender students receive sensitivity training surrounding the disclosure and appropriate use of this information. Campuses should work with local in-house IT programmers or outside vendors to make necessary system adjustments to user requirements within a two-year period. The Chief Information Officer (CIO) at the UC Office of the President can provide technical support as needed.

Background

Best practices in higher education recommend that offices responsible for student records provide a field in campus computer systems for “preferred name.” This allows gender nonconforming students to have their preferred or lived name made known to their professors and teaching assistants through class rosters, course scheduling systems, and student IDs without the need to “come out” as transgender. Preferred name categories also facilitate better day-to-day interactions and attendance-taking for other groups, such as international and multicultural students that regularly use a preferred name in class.

Current policy on some campuses provides only one option for students who use a preferred name – the submission of legal proof of name change.  This policy is not adequate for many of the people who use preferred names in a day-to-day setting. Asking students to submit legal proof of a name change before changing their name in campus systems can present an undue hardship as many students lack the financial means and information necessary to update their identity documents with the State of California. Currently, obtaining a legal name change in California is an involved process that typically costs more than $100 in court fees and publishing of a name change notice in a local newspaper. These issues are further exacerbated for out-of-state and international students. Requiring changed identity documents places an unnecessary burden on students to be fully recognized and acknowledged by their legal, familial, and educational institutions.  A preferred name option enables transgender students who are not ready or able to change their names legally to have a name that reflects their gender identity and expression. Otherwise, students may be outed as transgender when an instructor takes attendance, when someone sees their student identification card, looks them up in the campus’ online directory, or when a course requires students to use an online forum that displays their username.

Currently, a number of colleges and universities offer a preferred name option through modified Banner/PeopleSoft/Datatel software without difficulties. These institutions include the University of Vermont, which uses Banner, and the University of Michigan, which uses PeopleSoft.

 

Gender Inclusive Restroom Policies & Practices

The Task Force has specifically identified as a critical and immediate need the provision of safe and accessible restroom facilities on campus and all UC-owned buildings for transgender and gender non-conforming members of the community.

Recommendation of the UC LGBT Task Force

The University of California is strongly committed to creating a safe and accessible environment for students, faculty, staff, and visitors. As part of that commitment, the University supports and adheres to non-discrimination policies, including state law, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity or gender expression. In addition, all groups that operate under the authority of The UC Regents, including administration, faculty, student governments, University-owned residence  halls, and programs sponsored by the University or any campus, are governed by UC policies that prohibit discrimination and harassment.

Despite the University’s commitment to creating a positive campus climate, gender-specific restrooms and recreation facilities continue to be unwelcoming and unsafe for people whose gender identity or expression falls outside binary gender categories  The LGBT Task Force recommends that the President instruct Capital Resource Management to convene an implementation group that includes representatives of the LGBT Task Force and others with expertise in gender-inclusive facilities, with a mandate to develop and implement a gender inclusive restroom facilities policy for the University of California.

The policy should seek to include the following elements:

  • Perform an initial audit of restroom and other gender-segregated facilities on each campus, such as recreation center locker rooms in all UC buildings and report findings to UC Capital Resource Management.

  • Change existing single-stall restrooms in all UC-owned buildings from sex-specific to gender inclusive facilities.

  • Include at least one gender inclusive restroom on every floor of all newly constructed buildings at UC.

  • Convert at least one multi-stall, sex-specific restroom to a gender inclusive restroom, or build an additional gender inclusive restroom whenever extensive renovations to existing restroom facilities are made.

  • Construct private changing rooms when renovations are made to recreation centers or new ones built.

  • Prominently list the locations of gender inclusive facilities on UC websites.

  • Establish a facilities policy that affirms individuals have the right to use facilities that correspond with their gender identity.

  • Provide notice and/or training to all community members on facilities policy.

Recommended Action

The UC LGBT Task Force recommends that the University of California develop comprehensive gender inclusive facilities policy and practice guidelines, in collaboration with members of the LGBT Task Force and other experts in gender inclusive facilities, the UC Office of the President’s Capital Resources Management unit, leaders in design, construction, and facilities planning, and the UC Regents’ Committee on Grounds and Buildings, if appropriate.

Task Assigned To: Executive Vice President, Budget Operations Nathan Brostrom; Vice President, Budget and Capital Resources Patrick Lenz; Associate Vice President, Capital Resource Management Deborah Wylie; and Vice President, Student Affairs Judy Sakaki.

Background

Research and anecdotal evidence shows that transgender people and others with non-binary gender identities face a variety of challenges in traditional restrooms. This population often faces harassment, denial of use, arrest, and violence simply for using the restroom. Gender non- conforming and transgender people also routinely face the pressure of deciding which gendered facility to use.

A recent survey of transgender, gender non-conforming, and gender queer people in Washington, DC found that 70 percent of respondents had been denied entrance to, verbally harassed, or physically assaulted when attempting to use a public restroom consistent with their gender.

Gender inclusive restrooms can benefit a variety of people, including transgender and gender non- conforming people who can stand out in ways that can make them vulnerable to intimidation, harassment or attack in traditional restrooms; disabled or elderly people who need an attendant in the restroom who may be of a different gender; parents with children of different genders; nursing mothers who need a private space to breastfeed or use a pump; and people with social anxiety and other conditions who need more privacy than a gender specific restroom can provide.

Expanding the availability of gender inclusive restrooms at UC facilities would address many of the challenges people face when they need access to safe and private restroom facilities. A gender inclusive restroom is a single-stall facility with a locking door designed for a single person to use, and that has a single toilet and sink (and sometimes a urinal).  Upon entry, users can close and lock the door, and create a space in which they have safety and privacy for the duration of use.

Supporting Documents

  • Gendered Restrooms and Minority Stress:  The Public Regulation of Gender and its Impact on Transgender People’s Lives, by The Williams Institute, spring 2013

  • Trans Realities:  A Legal Needs Assessment of San Francisco’s Transgender Communities, by National Center for Lesbian Rights and Transgender Law Center, 2003

  • UC Student-Workers Union (UAW 2865) Petition: Demand More All-Gender Restrooms at the University of California, 2014

Support of the Bisexual Community

The recommendation’s purpose is to create campus environments that foster a more welcoming and inclusionary climate for LGBT students, faculty and staff. This recommendation addresses issues specific to the bisexual community.

Recommendation of the UC LGBT Task Force

As part of its work to support AB 620 legislation, the LGBT Task Force has specifically identified the need for further assessment and support of the bisexual community. Even as the LGBT Task  Force recognizes the challenge the University of California has had in serving the diverse population of bisexual, pansexual, fluid, queer, non-monosexual, multisexual, polysexual, omnisexual, non-labeled, and other members of the bisexual community, the LGBT Task Force has received abundant evidence regarding the need for bisexual-specific interventions that will enhance the safety and health of UC’s staff, faculty and students.

In the introduction to this report, the LGBT Task Force strongly recommends the appointment of a permanent, systemwide body on LGBT issues that would be advisory to the President and act as a thoughtful and effective convener and catalyst for the airing and advancement of issues critical to the well being of LGBT students, faculty and staff. In order to meet the legislative mandate of AB 620, the Task Force further recommends that in convening such a body, the President simultaneously convene a Sub-Committee on Bisexual Community Issues. The co-chairs of the Sub-Committee on Bisexual Community Issues should be selected from the membership of the LGBT Task Force.

The LGBT Task Force also recommends that the Sub-Committee on Bisexual Community Issues have a three-fold charge:

  • Catalogue current resources and support opportunities for bisexual-identified students, faculty and staff.

  • Develop bisexual-specific recommendations based on the assessment of current resources and support opportunities for bisexual-identified students, faculty and staff.

  • Produce a UC systemwide symposium for bisexual research and researchers.

As part of its work in examining LGBT Climate, Culture and Inclusion, the LGBT Task Force has identified that there are currently no explicitly targeted resources, employment policies, trainings, or specific harassment policies to protect and support bisexual students, staff or faculty.  The Task Force recommends a thorough assessment of the resources and support opportunities for all campus constituents.

Upon completion of the assessment, the LGBT Task Force recommends that the Sub-Committee on Bisexual Community Issues develop bisexual-specific recommendations. These recommendations should consider:

  • Health resources for UC medical departments, mental health departments and hospitals regarding poorer health outcomes that bisexuals report (more than gay, lesbian and/or heterosexual counterparts).

  • Mental health resources for UC medical departments, mental health departments and hospitals regarding poorer mental health that bisexuals report (including higher rates of suicidality than gay, lesbian or heterosexual counterparts).

  • Police and safety resources for UC police and safety departments so safety officers are better educated on the higher rates of sexual assault, intimate partner violence and/or stalking that bisexual community members report experiencing.

The Task Force strongly believes a systemwide symposium for bisexual research and researchers will allow the University to collect critical data to better highlight strategies that support bisexual students, staff and faculty. The LGBT Task Force recommends the Sub-Committee on Bisexual Community Issues initiate and develop a systemwide symposium on bisexual research similar to BiReConUSA, a bisexual research symposium hosted by the University of Minnesota. The Task Force further recognizes the  role UC has in driving research and the development of new strategies, as such the LGBT Task Force recommends UC use a system wide symposium to call for:

  • Additional bisexual-specific research in the areas of psychology, neuroscience, workplace health/management and public policy (e.g., there is no current data being collected on the rate of bisexual suicide).

  • Additional research that collects and analyzes information on bisexuals separately from gay men and lesbians, with foci on bisexual people of color, bisexual men and bisexual transgender persons.

The Task Force recognizes the historic lack of a visible commitment from UC to affirm the right of bisexual populations to safety and security on UC campuses. As such, the LGBT Task Force recommends that the UC President formally acknowledge the bisexual community as a historically excluded population, currently underrepresented in resource and support development, with a public statement announcing the formation of the Sub-Committee on Bisexual Community Issues no later than this year’s national bisexual visibility day, Celebrate Bisexuality Day, on September 23, 2015.

Background

National surveys from PEW Research Center and the Williams Institute of Sexual Orientation and the Law find that bisexuals represent anywhere from 40 to 51 percent of the LGBT community.

Despite the large numbers of community members, the bisexual community is routinely ignored when developing resources or support opportunities3.  As a result, many bisexual individuals report worse health outcomes than their gay, lesbian and heterosexual peers regarding:

  • Cancer

  • Suicide

  • Mental Health

  • Heart Disease

Bisexuals also report serious issues with maintaining their safety and security:

  • The Williams Institute’s summary of national surveys found that bisexual men and women have higher rates of poverty than gay/lesbian and heterosexual peers.

  • A 2013 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey indicates bisexual women and men are more likely than gay, lesbian or heterosexual peers to experience sexual/physical violence in their lifetime

Supporting Documents

  • Bisexual Invisibility: Impacts and Recommendations, San Francisco Human Rights Commission

Cultural Competency Training Program

The LGBT Working Group prioritized the establishment and adequate funding of LGBT offices on all campuses of the University of California to provide expert, effective programs and services to each of the campus’ respective LGBT populations. The Working Group also recommended that the UC Office of the President, all of the campuses, and the laboratories identify or develop a high-quality training program in LGBT concerns that would be offered to all staff and faculty members on an annual basis.

Recommendations of the UC LGBT Task Force

As UC’s diversity initiatives have attested to date, UC staff and faculty, including those in key positions, have a varying degree of knowledge of, or experience with, the LGBT community.  This lack of knowledge and experience can reduce LGBT equity and inclusion and also heighten the risk of complaints, as well as legal action, as LGBT individuals seek nondiscriminatory treatment in accordance with UC policy and state law. Access to high-quality training on LGBT issues can help to create a positive climate for LGBT community members, inform and guide the development of effective and responsive policies and services, and reduce institutional risk.

To address this need, the LGBT Task Force recommends that each campus dedicate funding for an additional staff member at each campus (including UC Merced) as the designated Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Cultural Competency Trainer/Specialist. The workload of current LGBT Resource Center staff is full and, therefore, it is crucial that this position be an addition to existing staff. This position will work in collaboration with the LGBT Resource Centers, Faculty Diversity Offices, Staff Assembly, Human Resources, Campus Ombuds, and other appropriate campus-specific offices or constituents to specifically develop/enhance trainings that address LGBT issues and communities. These trainings should address the issues of the LGBTQ community at each UC location and serve to build awareness, visibility and opportunities for positive change. The trainings should be directed to existing and newly hired faculty and staff (including senior administrators), as well as to teaching assistants. In addition, it should be provided to all students. These trainings can be offered through multiple avenues including Student Ally Trainings,   LGBT 101 workshops and, most critically, faculty- and staff-focused LGBT Cultural Competency trainings offered in partnership with Human Resources and LGBT Centers.  Each campus will determine the most effective implementation approach based on their unique needs.

The Specialist will also work with campus partners to develop a five-year strategic plan to ensure campus wide access to these trainings and additional trainings that provide in-depth focus on specific aspects of the LGBT community (e.g., transgender, bisexual/fluid, queer people of color, etc).

Allies or Safe Zone programs are offered at more than 230 college and university campuses.1   Such programs build visible networks of students, staff, and faculty who, after training, display placards that signal they are equipped to provide positive support for anyone who is dealing with sexual orientation or gender identity issues. Participants most often attend an LGBT cultural competency training seminar in which they learn about resources regarding sexual orientation and gender identity, interact with a panel of LGBT students, and practice scenarios of how to provide support and resources. The goals of such programs are education, outreach, and visible support.  Not only are access points for support increased beyond the campus LGBT resource center, but also LGBT students report a higher comfort level on campus with visible, LGBT-affirming placards.  The volunteer participation nature of trainings is key to Allies or safe zone programs, so that only campus members who feel comfortable providing visible support are given placards.

The LGBT Task Force further recommends establishing a systemwide LGBT Climate Specialist to ensure systemwide compliance with campus-specific goals and standards of trainings.  This Specialist will ensure cultural competency trainings for all new and current staff at UCOP.

In addition, the LGBT Task Force recommends that staff who work at LGBT Centers be supported with professional development funding to attend relevant national and state-wide conferences to keep up with emerging trends in supporting the diversity of LGBT communities.

Background

The 2014 UC Campus Climate study report found that transgender and genderqueer respondents were less comfortable with the overall climate at their campus/location than were women and men respondents. Genderqueer, transgender, and women respondents were less comfortable in their department/work unit/academic unit/college/school/clinical setting than were men respondents. LGBT respondents were also less comfortable with the overall climate and the climate in their departments and work units, compared with heterosexual respondents. This demonstrates a profound need for further cultural competency training to address these campus climate issues.  According to the 2006 Student Mental Health Report, “Programs would be better able to focus on students who experience high levels of stress and some of the highest suicide rates (e.g., LGBT, graduate, international, and racially and ethnically underrepresented students). Targeted training would prepare staff and faculty to recognize individuals in distress and make appropriate referrals early on as opposed to after a crisis has emerged.”

Allies or safe zone programs at UC Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, and Riverside are characterized by the in- depth nature of training, as well as opportunities to “go deeper” beyond the basic seminar.  UCLA offers a 2.5-hour Allies program. UC Davis and UC Riverside require a 3-hour Allies seminar. Additionally, UC Riverside offers a 3-hour Trans Allies seminar to current Allies program members and UC Davis offers a Trans Safe Zone that is 2 hours in length. UC Irvine requires a 4-hour Safe Zone seminar, and offers 1.5- hour seminars to current members on Bi, QPOC (Queer People of Color), and Trans concerns. None of these trainings are mandatory and all are on a volunteer basis.

UC Riverside and UCLA offer alternative LGBT 101 cultural competency trainings to departments and organizations that last 1.5 to 2 hours, with an optional 1-hour Allies seminar follow-up to complete the training and allow participants to sign contracts and hang placards.  Such programs provide the basic information that all staff and faculty should know in serving LGBT students, regardless of personal views and without having to be noted as an Ally.

An evaluations analysis by the UC Riverside Staff Affirmative Action Office confirmed that LGBT 101 and Allies seminar trainings increased participants’ LGBT cultural competency. However, Allies or safe zone programs are time intensive for campus LGBT resource center staff. Campus LGBT resource center staff report that without additional staffing, they cannot launch similar programs without cutting other critical outreach, education, and training programs.  Allies or safe-zone programs also require a significant investment of participants’ time, and are least likely to reach faculty on campus because of the time commitment, according to center staff. The Task Force feels that these trainings are critical if we are to truly create systemwide inclusion as a cornerstone of the UC experience.

There is an ever increasing need to provide sexual orientation and gender identity understanding and inclusion training to managers and other staff. In particular, managers are sometimes called upon to respond to the needs of transgender employees undergoing gender confirmation transition on the job and to staff members uncomfortable with a fellow staff member’s gender expression or choice of restroom. Many managers and supervisors are also unaware of the laws and policies that govern how to create an inclusive workplace for transgender, gay, lesbian, and bisexual employees.

Community-Based Counselors

The Task Force was specifically charged with providing recommendations for the implementation of California Assembly Bill 620, which Governor Jerry Brown signed in October 2011 and, as an overarching tenet, requires public colleges and universities to improve the climate for LGBT students by providing access to student services.  This recommendation paper responds to that mandate.

Recommendation of the UC LGBT Task Force

The LGBT Task Force strongly recommends that each campus dedicate funding and infrastructure to support the hiring of a full-time, dedicated counselor to provide psychological, educational and prevention services to LGBT students, in collaboration with the each campus’ LGBT Resource Center. The structure, location and implementation of this position should be developed by the LGBT Resource Center in partnership with the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) Center and other relevant partners on each campus. While CAPS on some campuses already have a staff member with specialized training in LGBT issues, the Task Force recommends that all campuses hire at least one LGBT-dedicated counselor who works full-time with LGBT students.

LGBT students in distress frequently seek help first from trusted LGBT Resource Center staff.  As such, the Centers provide unique safety-net support, initial informal assessments and referrals to professional clinical counseling, as needed. While most LGBT Resource Center staff members are not professionally trained clinical counselors, all have training in meeting students’ psychosocial needs. This is especially important given LGBT students’ high-risk status, as outlined in the 2006 UC-wide Mental Health Report (i.e., these students experience higher levels of stress and some of the highest suicide rates).  While current LGBT Resource Center staff cannot act as licensed psychological counselors, the centers that have utilized community-based counselors have been successful in reaching the “targeted” LGBT student demographic.

The LGBT Task Force further recommends that CAPS Centers host mandatory LGBT Cultural Competency/ Professional Development Trainings on their campuses once per year that are targeted to all of their mental health clinicians. While some clinicians already participate in Safe Zone or other ally training, it is not required. According to the 2006 Student Mental Health Report, targeted training would prepare staff to recognize individuals in distress and make appropriate referrals early on, as opposed to after a crisis has emerged.

The LGBT Task Force also requests that each campus submit to the UC Office of the President a progress report that provides detailed analyses of how funds were utilized to address “Tier 2” concerns, especially as they relate to LGBT communities. (The 2006 Student Mental Health Report provided its recommendations in a three-tiered model.) The report should identify gaps that need to be addressed in order to fulfill the report’s recommendations. This would support the data analyses that campuses are already conducting.

Background

UC Office of the President has noted on its systemwide student mental health website that, “Student mental health is an ongoing and urgent issue for higher education.” In 2006, the UC Student Mental  Health Committee presented its Final Report to the UC Regents. That report provided its recommendations in a three-tiered model (Tier 1, Critical Mental Health Services; Tier 2, Targeted Interventions for Vulnerable Groups; Tier 3, Comprehensive Approach to Creating Healthier Learning Communities) which serves as the basis for the University’s comprehensive framework for meeting the fundamental mental health needs of our students and providing for safe and healthy campus environments across the system.  LGBT and racially and ethnically underrepresented students, who can feel alienated from general campus populations, are other examples of at-risk groups.”

UC Santa Cruz chose to hire a licensed psychotherapist as the founding director of its Cantú Queer Center in 1997. While the director does not conduct formal therapy sessions with students, she is frequently the first point of intervention for LGBT students in distress. She conducts professional assessments and coordinates with the campus’ CAPS therapists on individual cases.  Students in distress are often hired as student workers at the center to provide ongoing monitoring and support. This provides students in distress with a sense of self-efficacy; they often go on to be great student leaders and mentors.  The director recruits and supervises community para-professionals to lead facilitated groups at the center (such as for Queers of Color and Queer/Questioning Women). The director also conducts annual trainings at CAPS on LGBT issues and is a campus and community-wide consultant on LGBT psychosocial issues.

According to the UC LGBT Directors Council, three UC campuses have supplemented center staff with licensed community-based counselors.

The UC San Diego Liaison to the Campus Community Centers, CAPS, is a full-time community counselor who works 1/3 time with the LGBT Resource Center, 1/3 time with the Cross Cultural Center, and 1/3 time with the Women’s Center. The counselor works one day per week within the LGBT Resource Center, from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.  She may do clinical hours with students at the Resource Center, using the Director’s office or Assistant Director of Education’s office, or at her CAPS office.  Because the counselor is a queer woman of color, she has a visible connection with all three campus community centers served.  Staff of the LGBT Resource Center believe that, if she worked 50 percent time within the Resource Center, she would still fill clinical and outreach hours to the maximum.

At UCLA, three Counselors is Residence collectively spend 26 hours per week at the LGBT Resource Center in partnership with CAPS. Each counselor provides both clinical counseling hours (60%) and drop-in hours (40%). The counselors describe drop-in as “drive-by counseling,” which provide critical support to students in need of immediate, private psychological care as well as a bridge to other campus care.  Counselors also provide outreach and serve as facilitators for the weekly Queer Chats and Rainbow Connection Online Chat programs.

A Care-Manager spends 8 hours per week at the LGBT Resource Center and provides long-term case management for students of concern needing additional support. Together, the Counselors in Residence and Care Manager provide daily access to mental health services for the LGBT community. Because the counselors are a daily part of the center space, they are able to witness student behavior and identify students who might need assistance, while building trust with students who might hesitate to walk to CAPS for an intake.

The UC Davis LGBTQIA Resource Center shares a Community Counselor with the Women’s Resources and Research Center.  There is an office for this position in both Centers. This position is part of the Community Advising Network (CAN) program. This program has been a huge success in conducting outreach to and de-stigmatizing counseling for underrepresented and underserved communities on campus. She also conducts workshops on request on topics ranging from self-care to facilitating to polyamory.

Supporting  Documents

  • Student Mental Health Committee – 2006 Final Report.

Enhancement of Academic Initiatives on Genders and Sexualities

Consistent with some of the intentions of the systemwide campus climate survey and the “Working Group” report, the Task Force recognized that the academic environment in classes, labs, and graduate seminars plays an important role in fostering a campus climate that is at once welcoming, challenging, and supportive of intellectual study in all areas of scholarship.  Campus climate is enhanced through support of graduate students, faculty and undergraduates in ensuring research and teaching in all scholarly areas, genders and sexualities among them.

Recommendation of the UC LGBT Task Force

In light of the President’s interest in continuing the preeminence of the University of California, the UC LGBT Task Force recommends that several efforts be made to ensure the viability of academic programs already in place, to enhance the possibilities of new research in the area of gender and sexuality, particularly the under-researched fields of bisexuality and transgender studies, and to provide support to those students and faculty engaged in scholarship in these interdisciplinary fields.

The LGBT Task Force recommends the adoption of six academic initiatives: 

  1. First, faculty leaders in Women’s, Gender and Sexualities studies departments and programs at the nine general campuses already meet annually. At present, most campuses can only afford to send one representative, usually the Chair, and there is rarely enough time to address specific substantive areas, such as LGBT studies. The LGBT Task Force recommends that three years of additional funding for travel and related expenses be provided by the UCOP Provost and Executive Vice President to expand the breath of these annual meetings. This will ensure that faculty most directly responsible for LGBTQ minors, emphases, and research colloquia are able to meet to discuss the specific, wide-ranging needs of these programs.

    The expanded meetings will have two goals. First, participants will examine the current intellectual thrust of each program and plan for LGBT and gender studies on the campuses in the next decade.  New developments in the field, such as the identified need for scholarly work on bisexual persons and communities, are obvious directions that require sustained attention.  Consideration might be made of on- line courses or of a systemwide major. A report on current and future intellectual directions, staff sufficiency, and resource allocation would be prepared for the Provost at the end of the funding period. Secondly, some number of the participants to these meetings will aim toward the development of a planning document for a multi-campus research program, which like others already in place in the system, would support both individual faculty and graduate student research efforts and scholarly conferences.

  2. Second, the Task Force recommends that through the support of the UCOP Provost and Executive Vice President a series of symposia on and about gender and sexuality issues be offered to the faculty members who provide the curricula at the nursing, public health, law, education, and medical schools. The professional schools and their curricula are not typically part of, nor do they benefit from, the undergraduate offerings or minors. At present, much of the curricula in these professional programs in the University of California system do not in any systematic way take account of how sexuality and gender shape and affect the persons with whom professionals in these fields come in contact. However, there are colleagues scattered throughout the system who teach these courses sometimes in the professional schools, often to graduate students in academic disciplines within letters and sciences. The outcome of these symposia would be the development of a wide-ranging set of offerings for use by faculty, not simply at the University of California, but nationally as well.

  3. Third, the LGBT Task Force recommends the development of a stable infrastructure of grants for funding of faculty and graduate student research in LGBT and gender studies, perhaps through the MRP discussed above.  Such an investment would signal UC’s acknowledgement of the intellectual value of scholarship in these interdisciplinary fields and would provide necessary funding in light of the extremely limited availability of such funds from foundations and national agencies for research in this area.

    A longer-term solution would be the establishment of a comprehensive research center serving faculty and graduate students in the UC system.  Such a center would signal national leadership and could serve to be a model of intellectual engagement in this area. The system benefits from the Williams Institute at UCLA, which was founded and supported through private funds and which has been remarkably successful in providing research support on “sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy at both the state and national level.” However, its mission does not do justice to the broad range of other topics and disciplinary approaches important to scholars in the UC system that examine genders and sexualities through different scholarly frameworks, especially in the humanities and the biological and physical sciences. Its small grants project is unable to support more than one quarter of the proposals it receives annually.

  4. Fourth, given the ways bias related to gender and sexuality can influence student evaluations, collegial relationships, and the assessment of scholarly value, the LGBT Task Force recommends that professional development training, organized in collaboration with the directors of the campus resource centers, be mandated to senior administrators, academic deans, academic personnel staff, department chairs, and relevant members of Academic Senate committees whose purview involves the review and evaluation of faculty research and teaching in the areas of gender and sexuality, the admission and retention of graduate students, and the oversight of curricula development.

  5. Fifth, the LGBT Task Force recommends that information about gender identity and sexuality is included in reports by programs, departments and academic divisions as a regular feature of self-studies and external reviews. LGBT data would then be part of other diversity data already accumulated on student, staff, and faculty, data which may then be useful in, among other academic matters, assessing climate, informing personnel decisions, and assuring recognition of contributions to diversity.

  6. Sixth, in what is often considered a contentious and marginalized realm of scholarship, which often elicits heightened public scrutiny, student discomfort in classroom settings, faculty dismissal of graduate student interest, and collegial criticism of the scholarly value of the work, the Task Force alerts the UC Office of the President that an affirmative defense of the academic freedom of faculty and students to undertake research and teaching in this broad and challenging intellectual area remains a vital imperative to ensure the scholarly excellence for which the UC system is known.

Background

Senate faculty members on each campus are the primary producers of curricula and academic programming and the advisors and mentors of graduate students. Given the highly decentralized process of curricula development, the UC LGBT Task Force recognizes that it cannot mandate specific courses of study in any discipline. The Task Force wishes also to acknowledge the current practice of including sexuality as a vector for consideration of funding for the Presidential Post-Doctoral and Chancellors’ Fellowships. While data are not officially tracked on the numbers of Post-Doctoral Fellows awarded Fellowships based on contributions to the fields of gender and sexuality studies, the Task Force requests continued assurance of this practice that allows for support for emerging scholars undertaking important scholarly work in the interdisciplinary fields of genders and sexualities and for the possibility of their future recruitment to the campuses as faculty.

Tax Equalization of Domestic Partner Employee Benefits

The LGBT Working Group of the President’s Advisory Council on Campus Climate, Culture, and Inclusion recommended a “gross up employee wages to compensate for inequitable federal taxation.” The UC LGBT Resource Center Directors had also previously supported the recommendation in their Lavender Paper on LGBT Climate and Inclusion in 2011.

Recommendation of the UC LGBT Task Force

The LGBT Task Force recommends that the University of California immediately implement a tax equalization program for employees in domestic partnerships (same- and opposite-sex couples) who receive health benefits through the University’s health and wellness plans and, by law, are required to pay federal taxes on such benefits. Such a tax equalization program will promote and advance equity, as well as support the University’s ability to recruit and retain the most qualified faculty, staff, and graduate students.

This recommended policy change has the ability to strengthen competitiveness, improve morale, and promote diversity, inclusion, and equity in the workforce.  Progress in tax equalization for imputed income would also strengthen UC’s overall benefits program and standing as an employer of choice.

In the Windsor decision issued in June 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which had barred federal recognition of same-sex marriages.  In addition, as a result of the Supreme Court’s procedural ruling in Perry, California has resumed recognizing same-sex marriages. One of the results of these decisions is that a UC employee who is in a legally recognized same-sex marriage no longer must pay additional taxes on UC’s financial contribution to medical and dental coverage for that employee’s spouse, spouse’s children or grandchildren. However, UC employees in same-sex and opposite-sex domestic partnerships do not receive this benefit and are subject to additional taxation on this so-called “imputed income.”

While the University is not responsible for this tax code disparity, the LGBT Task Force affirms that UC has the ability to take appropriate steps to remedy this unequal treatment for its employees. In October 2011, President Yudof adopted a statement of principle (recommended by his Advisory Council on Campus Climate, Culture, and Inclusion), which states, in part, “that sexual orientation and gender identity are important components of the University’s overall diversity goals and efforts, [and that] campus initiatives and programs should make every effort” to be inclusive of this diversity.

Furthermore, the University has demonstrated a dedication to the pursuit of equity and inclusion in all areas of policy and practice. As espoused in the UC Accountability Sub-Report on Diversity, the University is “committed to achieving excellence through diversity in the classroom, research labs, and the workplace. It strives to establish a climate that welcomes, celebrates, and promotes respect for the contributions of all students and employees.”

While the LGBT Task Force’s recommendation would benefit same- and opposite-sex domestic partners, providing tax equity for imputed income would advance the University’s strong commitment to equity and inclusion for underrepresented sexual orientations and gender identities. This is because marriage is not the only contract that enables family formation. In California, domestic partnerships also enable legally recognized families. According to UCOP Human Resources, 934 UC employees are in domestic partnerships and have enrolled their family members in the University’s medical and dental benefits.

The LGBT Task Force strongly believes that all legal partnerships should be treated equally to fully advance a climate of inclusion across the UC system.

The University is a national leader in employment benefits and policies that recognize LGBT communities. The Task Force reaffirms the importance of UC’s commitment, advancement, and leadership in these areas. In the face of intense political opposition, UC became the first public university in 1997 to offer full health benefits to same-sex domestic partners, and UC was the first public university to provide transgender-inclusive health insurance to both employees and students.

Recommended Action

The LGBT Task Force recommends that the UCOP Vice President of Human Resources immediately develop a recommendation and plan for operational procedures to provide tax equalization for employees in registered same- or opposite-sex domestic partnerships who receive UC health and wellness benefits and are required to pay federal taxes on such benefits. The Task Force should serve as an advisory body in the development of this plan.

Background

In March 2013, the UC LGBT Task Force submitted a recommendation to UC President Yudof concerning tax equalization for employees in same-sex domestic partnerships or same-sex marriages. The Task Force recommended that UC move forward immediately with implementing a tax equalization program for employees in domestic partnerships (same-sex and opposite-sex) and same-sex marriages who receive health benefits through the University’s health and wellness plans and who are required to pay federal taxes on such benefits.

Shortly thereafter, in June 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which prevented the federal government from recognizing marriages of same- sex couples, and thereby, creating a tax discrepancy for same-sex couples who receive health benefits from their partners’/spouse’s employer. In light of the Court’s procedural ruling in Perry, California has resumed recognizing same-sex marriages. Despite these advances, the Task Force recognizes that LGBT individuals who are in committed domestic partnerships, but not married, remain at an economic disadvantage. To fully advance a climate of inclusion across the UC system, the Task Force recommends that the University recognize all legal partnerships that enable family formation and treat them equally.

The University of California currently offers domestic partner benefits to same-sex domestic partners, and to opposite-sex domestic partners, provided at least one of them is at least 62 years old and eligible to receive social security benefits. These benefits include UC-sponsored medical, dental, and vision coverage. However, enrolling a domestic partner (or a domestic partner’s child or grandchild) can affect an employee’s taxable income. As domestic partners, these family members are not eligible to be federal tax dependents and they are not recognized as legal spouses. As such, the IRS considers UC's contribution to medical and dental coverage for these employees as "imputed income.” Imputed income is subject to federal income, Social Security and Medicare taxes, and any other required payroll tax. The vision plan is not subject to imputed income since UC contributes the same amount for all employees and enrolled family members.

Employees who cover their same-sex domestic partners are taxed on the value of employer-provided coverage and must pay premiums on an after-tax basis. As such, these employees pay more for medical and dental coverage than married employees who cover their same-sex or opposite-sex spouses.

Employers that recognize this disparity and want to provide equal benefits to all employees, regardless of marital status, can do so by “grossing up” the income of the employee who is covering a same- or opposite-sex domestic partner by the approximate amount that the employee must pay in taxes for the partner's coverage. Employers that provide such gross-ups should keep in mind those employees must also pay tax on the gross-up itself. Therefore, some employers structure the amount of the gross-up to include both the amount of the tax the employee would pay for the partner's coverage and the amount of the tax that the employee would pay on the gross-up itself.

Approximately 857 same‐sex spouses and domestic partners are enrolled in UC health and wellness plans systemwide. An additional 77 opposite-sex domestic partners are enrolled in UC health and wellness plans systemwide. UC contributions to health benefits coverage for a domestic partner or a partner’s child or grandchild is considered imputed income to the employee for tax purposes.

A UC policy that offsets the tax burden on imputed income for same- and opposite-sex domestic partners would make the University a more attractive employer, and advance its aim of attracting the “best and brightest.”

Supporting Documents

  • Briefing memo on imputed income, by Vice President of Human Resources Dwaine Duckett, April 6, 2012

  • Berkeley Memo on Inequitable Benefits Taxation, October 2012

  • Unequal Taxes on Equal Benefits: The Taxation of Domestic Partner Benefits, by The Williams Institute, December 2007

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Mitchelle Greenlee
Secretary
gisoi@ucsd.edu