An individual does not give up the right to participate in the political process by virtue of becoming an employee of the University of Arizona. However, because the University is a state governmental entity, as an institution it does not take a position on electoral issues. Providing a forum for discussion of those issues is an element of the University’s educational and public service missions; taking sides is not. This fact sheet is intended to provide guidelines on rights and responsibilities of University employees in connection with participation in political activity.
Arizona Revised Statutes § 15-1633 prohibits the use of University personnel, equipment, materials, building or other resources for the purpose of influencing the outcomes of election. This section encompasses elections for public office, bond issues, and initiative and referendum propositions. In keeping with this statute, political activities should be conducted on an employee’s own personal time and with the employee’s own resources. Similarly, University resources cannot be used to advocate support for or opposition to pending or proposed legislation.
Examples of activities in which University employees may engage on their own time:
- Join a political party
- Vote in any municipal, special district, school, county, state or federal election.
- Sign candidate nomination, recall, initiative and referendum petitions.
- Make contributions to candidates, political parties, or campaign committees.
- Solicit contributions on behalf of candidates.
- Express opinions, or display badges, buttons and bumper stickers.
- Attend and participate in political meetings.
- Any other lawful political activities, provided that the employee does not purport to speak or act in the name of the University.
Examples of prohibited activities:
- Stating or implying, orally or in writing, that the employee is speaking on behalf of the University on a political or electoral issue.
- Using University property, equipment, supplies or other resources (including phones, mail service, photocopiers, email accounts, stationery, or other items paid for by the University) for political or electoral advocacy.
- Engaging in campaign activities during regularly scheduled work hours.
- Wearing campaign buttons during on-duty time, or during off-duty time while in a classroom or other instructional setting.
The following laws, policies and resources are applicable to issues of employee political activity:
Arizona Revised Statutes
— § 15-1633 (Use of University employees or resources to influence elections)
— § 16-402 (Absence from employment for purpose of voting)
Attorney General Guidelines -http://www.azag.gov/SchoolGuidelines/GuidelinesUseOfUniversityResourcesReElections.pdf
Arizona Board of Regents Policies -http://www.abor.asu.edu/1_the_regents/policymanual/index.html
— 1-102 Lobbying
— 6-905 Political Activity
University of Arizona Policies
— Appointed Personnel - UHAP sections 2.10 (Political Activity) and 8.04.04 (Political or Other Employment Leave)
— Staff - Classified Staff Policy 412.00 (Political Activity)