With the election season here, it is appropriate to remind all university employees of current state law and university policies regarding employee political activities while at work and the use of university facilities or resources for political activities or purposes. A PowerPoint summary of these restrictions and recommendations to employees is located at http://www.uwgb.edu/hr/training/PoliticalActivities.pdf. There are three restrictions that should be noted:
- First, it is a violation of state law for a UW employee to engage in political activities while at work. This has been interpreted to include working on or assisting with a political campaign; displaying signs and similar items or materials supporting a partisan political candidate in the workplace; and using campus mail, e-mail, telephones and equipment for political activities.
- Second, it is a violation of state law for anyone to ask a UW employee to make a political contribution or to help with a political campaign while the employee is at work. This includes sending a request for a contribution or help with a campaign to a UW employee’s work mailing address or work e-mail address.
- Third, it is a violation of state law to enter a UW building or facility for the purpose of requesting a political contribution or help for a political campaign. There is an exception for University residence halls at Chapter UWS 18.06(16m), Wisconsin Administrative Code.
In addition to these specific restrictions on political activities, state and university policies restrict the use of university time, facilities, equipment, information technology resources and supplies to university business. Please be aware that these restrictions do not apply to non-partisan activity. The campus (or campus organizations) may host non-partisan events to encourage voter education and participation, such as candidate forums and voter registration efforts. These activities must be non-partisan and for the sole purpose of voter education. Permissible activities include speeches, question and answer sessions, debates, or similar activities. Electronic resources may also be used for non-partisan voter education purposes.
Information addressing the subject of political activities on campus for students, employees, and members of the public is available at http://www.wisconsin.edu/govrel/camprule.htm. This website answers the most frequently asked questions in this area. If additional questions arise, do not hesitate contact our office at x2390 or firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Dan Spielmann at x2067 for more information.