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University Governance, Ethics, Integrity, and Legal Compliance

Partisan Political Activity

Scope

Faculty, staff, and students

Policy Statement

Syracuse University values and encourages the expression and exchange of ideas and encourages students, faculty and staff to exercise their rights and privileges as individuals by participating fully in the political process.

However, as a tax-exempt organization under Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code, Syracuse University is prohibited from participating or intervening in any partisan political activities on behalf of or in opposition to any particular candidate for public office. Intervention includes, but is not limited to, making financial contributions and publication or distribution of written or oral statements in favor of or opposition to a particular candidate. Violation of this prohibition may result in monetary fines and exposes the University to possible revocation of its tax-exempt status. Interpretations of and questions about this prohibition should be directed to the senior vice president for Public and Government Affairs.

In accordance with both the law and this University policy, everyone connected with the University is expected to observe the following rules with respect to participation in national, state, or local partisan political activities.

  • Individuals and groups within Syracuse University endorsing or opposing a candidate for political office, or taking a position on an issue for the purpose of supporting or opposing a candidate, must make it clear they are speaking as individuals and are not stating a University position.
  • Individuals and groups within the University community may not use Syracuse University's name or resources in connection with partisan political activity.
  • Syracuse University's name or insignia may not be used on stationery or other documents intended for political purposes, including soliciting funds for political support or carrying on a political campaign.
  • Syracuse University funds and other resources, including but not limited to bulk mail services, mailing lists/listservs, information technology services, office supplies, and equipment may not be used for partisan political purposes.
  • Syracuse University employees may not perform tasks related to partisan political activities during working hours.

Organizations that are composed of non-University members, participants, or employees, in whole or in part, are not eligible to use University space for engaging in partisan political activities.

Syracuse University-related organizations composed solely of members of the corporate University community, such as recognized student organizations, may utilize available University facilities such as lecture halls or meeting rooms, or rooms regularly reserved for student use to engage in partisan political activities within the University community, provided the organization:

  1. pays for all costs of such activities;
  2. states at the beginning of the activity that the activity is being sponsored by the Syracuse University-related organization and that the opinions expressed are not those of the University; and
  3. obtains approval in advance from the appropriate Student Affairs or administrative office for all plans and publicity for such activities sponsored by recognized student organizations.

In addition, certain nonpartisan political activities such as properly organized voter registration activities, voter education programs, and candidate debates may be permissible if they do not evidence a preference for or opposition to a political party or to candidates who have taken a particular position.

In order to ensure that all legal and Syracuse University requirements are followed, University policies for advance approval, scheduling, planning, and publicizing events on University property apply. (See Events on University Property policy.)

This policy is not intended to infringe in any way on an individual's right, in his or her own name, to support a particular candidate or participate in a political campaign. Individuals remain entirely free to become involved in the election process as they choose, in a manner that does not evidence or imply University involvement.

Policy Administration

Links to Procedures and Related Information

Date: May 2008


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