Assistant Director for Government Relations
This Policy applies to the following Indiana University Community Members (“IU Community Members”):
A. Any employee of the University, including administrators, faculty, staff, temporary, and student employees;
B. All students and student organizations;
C. All University units;
D. Any individual using Indiana University resources or facilities or receiving funds administered by Indiana University; and
E. Volunteers and other representatives when speaking or acting on behalf of Indiana University.
[Definition based on the Principles of Ethical Conduct]
The University recognizes the right of IU Community Members to engage in political activities beyond those normally entailed in voting and participating in routine community, state, and national programs, provided that, in the case of University employees, the participation does not prevent the full discharge of the employee’s staff or academic responsibilities.
As a public institution, Indiana University receives tax exempt status under sections 115 and 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. In order to maintain this status, the University shall not participate or intervene in any political campaign and must prevent its resources from being used in any way that could appear to support a political candidate. University trademarks may not be used by candidates for elected office or by IU Community Members in a way that would create the appearance of Indiana University support for a particular candidate or political party.
Principles and Procedures to Be Observed
Direct Participation in Political Activity by Individual IU Community Members
IU Community Members shall be free to participate in political activities on the national, state, or local level such as running for political office, managing political campaigns, and assuming leadership roles in political organizations, providing that the participation does not prevent full discharge of their obligations to the University. If such participation does prevent full discharge, the individual will be required to request a leave of absence for the period of the activity.
In any such activities, it must be made clear that the individual is acting as a private citizen and is in no way representing the University.
The academic appointee who proposes to engage in political activities shall be required to inform his or her departmental chairperson, the school dean, and the Vice Chancellor/Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs or equivalent.
Should a disagreement arise between the faculty member and any of the above administrative officers regarding the faculty member’s ability to discharge academically related obligations, the faculty member shall be entitled to appeal to the Faculty Board of Review, which shall make the final decision. Other academic appointees have other means of appeal.
[Based on ACA-34]
All other, non-academic employees who propose to engage in political activities shall be required to comply with the IU Human Resources Policy on Political Activity and shall inform the Office of the Vice President for Government Relations, which will consult with the employee’s unit.
Activities that Indiana University and IU Community Members May Undertake
1. Voter Education
Section 501(c)(3) organizations are permitted to conduct certain voter education activities as long as they are carried out in a non-partisan manner. For example, conducting public forums, get-out-the-vote drives, and the publication of voter education guides that cover a wide range of issues are allowed as long as the activities are NOT conducted in a biased manner that favors or opposes a single candidate or issue.
2. Candidate Appearances
A. Invitations and Events: University Sponsored
B. Invitations and Events: Student Organization Sponsored
C. Invitations and Events: Sponsored by External Entities
Prohibited Activities for Indiana University and IU Community Members
Maintaining the University’s 501(c)(3) tax status is of the utmost importance to the University, and sensible judgment and due diligence should be exercised in arranging any event or activity that involves political activity. The following is a non-exhaustive list of activities that must be avoided in order to protect the University’s 501(c)(3) status:
This policy has been established to provide guidelines and procedures pertaining to participation in campaign and other political activities by IU Community Members. This policy is designed to ensure compliance with legal requirements of the Internal Revenue Code, which allows Indiana University to maintain tax exempt status, but requires the University not to participate or intervene in any political campaign, and to prevent University resources from being used in any way that could appear to support a political candidate.
This policy is not intended to limit the personal rights of IU Community Members to contact and advocate with federal, state, or local officials for their personal beliefs and issues or to donate to political campaigns or causes as an individual. Similarly, this policy is not directed toward those contacts made on behalf of their professional societies, as long as that representation is not in the name of Indiana University.
Indiana University encourages students, staff, and faculty members to exercise their constitutional right to vote, to actively participate, and express their opinions regarding local, state, and national political candidates, issues, and referendums.
The Office of the Vice President for Government Relations and the appropriate campus vice chancellor responsible for external affairs shall be notified by IU Community Members of all requests for political campaign invitations and events in order to ensure proper communication within the University.
University Resources: Include but are not limited to the University’s name, logo, or other identifying mark; the University’s funds, facilities, office supplies, photo equipment, letterhead, telephones, fax machines, and computers; and the University’s information technology resources such as email, websites, and on-line discussion boards.
University Property: Buildings, grounds, and land that are owned by Indiana University or controlled by Indiana University via leases or other formal contractual arrangements to house ongoing IU operations.
Indiana University Community Members: Any employee of the University, including administrators, faculty, staff, temporary, and student employees; all students and student organizations; all University units; any individual using Indiana University resources or facilities or receiving funds administered by Indiana University; and volunteers and other representatives when speaking or acting on behalf of Indiana University.
Student Organization: A student group that is recognized in accordance with any University and/or campus-specific policies or practices.
University Sponsor: A University campus, school, department, or unit.
External Entity(ies): Candidates, campaign or political organizations, not-for profits, and all other outside groups.
Violations of University policies, including the failure to refrain from engaging in a prohibited activity or failure to obtain required approvals, will be addressed in accordance with applicable University policies and procedures.
This policy was established in 2016 to combine existing guidelines from the IU Office of Government Relations as well as ACA-34 Political Activities of Academic Personnel; and the HR Political Activity policy.