Adams does not comment on items before the council until they take action, spokeswoman Cynthia Hoke said.
The proposal calls for the benefits to take effect no later than Jan. 1, 2014. Adams is scheduled to step down as president June 30 and some outgoing college presidents are hesitant to set new policy their successors would be obligated to implement.
Another issue is cost. Nearly all state agencies, including public colleges, have been told to cut spending by 3 percent this year and next. UGA has said it would eliminate about 130 jobs as part of its plan to make the cuts.
Frick estimated UGA would spend about $270,000 a year on the benefits. The projection assumes one-half of 1 percent of those eligible would participate, the trend at other colleges that offer this benefit, she said.
“It’s a small price to pay to make benefits equal for all employees,” Frick said. “Not doing this makes us stand out in a bad way.”
Five schools in the University System of Georgia — including Georgia Tech and Georgia State — offer voluntary benefits such as dental coverage, vision care or supplemental life insurance to domestic partners of employees, according to the proposal before the council.
The plan says about 75 percent of UGA’s peer colleges and schools it aspires to be like offer health insurance benefits. That list includes the University of Florida, Ohio State University and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.
Frick said UGA could provide the benefits without using state money. The University of Florida uses federal contracts, grants and discretionary funds from its foundation. The University of Wyoming uses revenue from its external research funding to offer vouchers that equal what the state contributes to the group insurance plan for spouses and dependents.