Political Activity Policy

I. University Policy

  1. It is the policy of the University of Puget Sound that political activity by members of the college community, as individuals, should be encouraged. Moreover, every individual associated with the University of Puget Sound has the right to organize and to join political associations and to advocate and publicize political opinions.
  2. Political activities of faculty members, students and staff, including campaigning for candidates or for issues, must be kept separate and distinct from identification with and activities of the university. In addition, the income the university receives for educational purposes may not be used to support political activities.
  3. If a clear-cut distinction is not made between the political activities of individuals as private citizens and the activities of those individuals in their official relationship to the university, the status of the university as a tax-exempt institution could be endangered.

Failure to make such a distinction could not only subject the university to taxation, but also it could seriously hamper fund-raising efforts upon which the university is dependent for a large portion of its income. If the university were no longer classified as a tax-exempt institution, potential donors would be reluctant to give to the university since they could no longer claim tax deduction for the gifts.

II. Guidelines for Political Activities

  1. Neither the name nor the seal of the University of Puget Sound should be used on letterheads, etc., or on any written material used for political purposes. This includes, of course, letters soliciting funds for political purposes or activities.
  2. College offices and offices of faculty or staff members should not be used for mailing outgoing pieces, as a return mailing address for the solicitation of funds for political purposes, for the solicitation of endorsement of candidates for political office, for personal support of proposed legislation, or for affixing postage through the franking machine, even if the postage costs were repaid.
  3. Faculty and staff members should use their titles in political correspondence only for purposes of identification and should avoid creating the impression that they are speaking or acting for the university. (See Code I, B, 5a and b.)
  4. If college space, duplication and other equipment and supplies are used for political purposes, their use must be fully compensated from non-university funds. This rule does not apply, however, to the activities of recognized college organizations, so long as their activities fulfill an educational purpose, such as, political discussion, forums, opinion polls and the like.
  5. No employee of the university should be asked to perform tasks in any way related to political activities while on regular duty.
  6. No action should be taken which might implicate the university, as a corporate body, in political activities.

III. Applicability

  1. The above stated Policy and Guidelines apply to all persons who have an official relationship to the university, such as: faculty, staff or administrative employees; students; Trustees; and members of related organizations including, but not limited to, the Alumni Association and the Toppers.
  2. Every person with an official relationship to the university is urged to:
  • participate fully as an individual in the political life of our nation,
  • observe these guidelines in order to respect the rights of others and protect the status of the university.

Origination Date: 6/1979