Yesterday, the AAUP–Penn Executive Committee issued this statement in a joint proposal with the LGBT Faculty Diversity Working Group to the Faculty Senate to extend parental leave policies to those bringing foster children into their homes:

On behalf of the American Association of University Professors chapter at Penn, we write to express our support for the proposed revisions to the faculty handbook regarding foster care. We agree with our colleagues in the LGBT Faculty Diversity Working Group that the current faculty handbook contains an oversight regarding foster care, which should be treated equally to other forms of bringing a child into the home in terms of parental leave. Correcting this oversight will have a positive impact for faculty of any identity who wish to bring a foster child into their home. But addressing this omission is even more important given that foster care affects some faculty more than others. In particular, the omission has a marked impact on LGBTQ+ faculty, who are up to 15 times more likely to be fostering a child than cis heteronormative faculty.

We urge the Faculty Senate to take action addressing this inequality and provide support for faculty who choose to become foster parents. At the same time, we would push the Faculty Senate and Penn Administration to address the egregious disparities in parental leave policies–for adoption, birth, and fostering–between standing and contingent faculty, as well as graduate students.  We believe that the benefits Penn offers to tenured and tenure-track faculty should be available to everyone who teaches and works at Penn.

In solidarity,
AAUP–Penn Executive Committee

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