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Ethics

Political Activities (B-4)

PURDUE UNIVERSITY
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
EXECUTIVE MEMORANDUM No. B-4
(Supersedes Executive Memorandum No. A-263)

May 1972

To: All Members of the University Faculty and Staff

Re: Political Activities

  1. Actions of the Board of Trustees

    The Board of Trustees recognizes that employees of Purdue University have an obligation as citizens to participate in the political processes of society. All employees shall retain the right to exercise their political freedoms, to vote as they may choose, to express their opinions on all political subjects, and to discuss local, national, and international issues, except as subject to the limitations of this memorandum and other University regulations.

    The Board of Trustees of the University has established the following regulations governing the "political activities" of employees of Purdue University.

    1. No employee (full-time or part-time) of Purdue University shall use or attempt to use his official authority or position in the University, directly or indirectly,
      1. to affect the nomination or election of any candidate for any political office,
      2. to affect the voting or legal political affiliation of any other employee of the University or of any student, or
      3. to cause any other employee of the University or any student to contribute any time or money (whether as payment, loan, or gift) to the support of any political organization or cause.
    2. No employee of the University shall engage in any political activity while performing his assigned University duties, or while traveling on behalf of the University, or on University property, except that in extra-curricular functions on the Campus, the employee has the same status and is subject to the same regulations as other citizens.
    3. No employee of the University shall represent that any political party, political candidate, political issue, or partisan activity has the official or unofficial support of Purdue University.
  2. Actions of the Administration
    1. Administrative Regulations
      The following administrative regulations are hereby established and shall remain in effect until superseded by the formal issuance of new regulations.
      1. Any employee of the University who wishes to campaign for a political office or to support political candidates may do so, in accordance with the guidelines below, as long as such activities do not interfere with his ability to carry out his University duties and responsibilities. If an employee is a candidate for public office or manages a political campaign, he will come under the regulations of the Board of Trustees that apply to outside activities; he must apply for permission to engage in such activities. (Employees should consult department head or supervisors as to how to apply for permission.)

        If such activities interfere unduly with the employee's University duties during the period of campaigning, he should request a leave of absence or resign.
      2. Any employee of the University who accepts or is elected to a political office requiring full-time service must obtain a leave of absence for the period of service or resign. This leave of absence will be granted only on the explicit condition that during this period the person involved shall neither represent himself nor knowingly allow himself to be represented as an employee of Purdue University.
      3. Any employee who wishes to hold any political office requiring part-time service or to serve part-time as a registered State or Federal lobbyist will come under the regulations of the University Board of Trustees which apply to any outside activity. In particular, the employee must apply for permission to engage in such activities.
    2. Guidelines
      While it is not possible to codify all considerations which should govern an employee's engaging in political activity, a few examples of what may be considered proper procedure are given below.
      1. Letters dealing with partisan politics, whether written to private persons, to political figures, or to newspapers, should not be written on University stationery or signed with a University title.
      2. Each employee should make clear that any mention of his connection with Purdue University for purposes of identification does not imply University endorsement of the view which he expresses. Such a disclaimer may be necessary when
        1. taking part in a public political meeting or speaking on behalf of a candidate.
        2. writing a letter or signing a statement on behalf of a political candidate or partisan cause or when his name appears on a letterhead supporting a candidate or cause.
        3. supporting his own candidacy for an office.
      3. In order to maintain the University's non-partisan position, an employee should not take part in polls intended to disclose the opinion of the University staffs as such on partisan political matters. This, of course, does not imply any restriction on participation in polls conducted among the general public.
  3. Faculty Resolution

    The following resolution was approved by the University Senate at its stated meeting on 15 November 1965. It is an expression of the consensus of the University Senate which should be carefully considered by every faculty member.

      "The Faculty of Purdue University affirms the right of each of its members to engage in political activities, provided that such participation does not unduly divert his interest and attention from University duties.

      "Actions of the Board of Trustees and the administrative regulations designed to implement them are intended to ensure that the positions taken by individual faculty members are clearly their own and do not represent the official position of the University. The University does not take an official position either on partisan political questions or on partisan matters of public policy.

      "The faculty recognizes that the position of the University as a State-supported but non-political institution necessitates that a faculty member (or any other University employee) assume special responsibility to avoid involving the University in political matters. This responsibility applies equally to elective, appointive, or consultative relationships."

Arthur G. Hansen
President