Policy # 76.0: Political Activities and Public Office

Revision date:
April 24, 2014

Purpose

This policy defines the conditions for and procedures by which University employees may engage in political activities or hold public office.

Policy

The University of Kentucky respects the right and responsibility of employees as individual citizens to engage in local, state, and national politics.  However, because the university is a public entity, its faculty, staff, and administrators may only engage in political activities or hold public office if they are able to do so within the applicable law and University regulations, and while meeting the obligations of their position at the University. This policy is not intended to prohibit university employees from freedom of political association but such associations shall not be exercised in the employee’s official, university capacity.

Definitions

  1. “Political Activities” or “campaigning” means promoting or opposing any partisan political activity, political party, or candidate for public office (local, state, or national), including oneself. For purposes of this policy, political activities specifically does not include promoting or opposing political activities or candidate for elected office within the University such as election of Student Government representatives or officers or election of faculty or staff members of the Board of Trustees or representative on the University Senate or the Staff Senate and similar internal elections.    
  2. “University Property” means any property owned, leased, or controlled by the University.
  3. “University Resources” means supplies, materials, equipment, telephones, printing or copying services, the university mail or (e)mail service, human resources, real property and other tangible and intangible assets.

Political Activities and Campaigning - General Rules

  1. University employees shall not engage in political activities on University property during regular University working hours or at official university functions.
  2. University employees shall not, in their official capacities, including instructional responsibilities, engage in political activities.
  3. University employees shall not depict their personal views as representing the University when engaged in political activities.
  4. University employees shall not attempt to coerce other employees or students to participate in or support their political activities.
  5. University employees shall not use University resources to conduct political activities, except that the physical facilities of the University may be used by employees of the university who are candidates for public office in the same manner as the facilities may be used by non-employee candidates. University employees shall adhere to the same policies that affect non-employees in terms of the use of all campus facilities for partisan political activities. Such rentals may be arranged through a registered campus organization and the appropriate facility administrator in accordance with university policy. (See: Governing Regulation, Part I.G.1, Use of University Resources and Property; Administrative Regulation 9:1, Regulations Governing Time, Place, and Manner or Meetings, Demonstrations, and other Assemblies; Administrative Regulation 9:2, Regulations Governing the Use of University Facilities by Registered Student Organizations)

Employees as Candidates or Office Holders

  1. At the earliest opportunity, employees who are considering campaigning for, accepting appointment to, or holding public office shall discuss potential conflicts or work arrangements with their supervisor and notify the Human Resources Office ofEmployee Relations.  The following options are available:
    1. Employees who are able to demonstrate that campaigning for or holding the public office will not interfere with their job responsibilities or work schedule may do so without requesting vacation leave, an unpaid special leave of absence, or other modified work arrangements.
    2. Employees who are unable to demonstrate that campaigning for or holding the public office will not interfere with their normal work schedule and job responsibilities may request: 1) vacation leave; 2) an unpaid special leave of absence in accordance with Human Resources Policy & Procedure #85.0, Special Leaves (staff), or Governing Regulation X.B.3.b, Faculty Members as Scholars and Citizens (faculty); or, 3) a flexible work arrangement, reduced FTE, or other reasonable and appropriate arrangement. The primary consideration for approval shall be the best interests of the University.
    3. However, employees elected or appointed to local, state, or federal office positions requiring full-time effort shall either request an unpaid special leave of absence in accordance with Human Resources Policy & Procedure #85.0, Special Leaves (staff), or Governing Regulation X.B.3.b, Faculty Members as Scholars and Citizens (faculty) or resign before they assume their new position. If a special leave is denied, the employee shall resign.
      NOTE:  Separate discussions and, if appropriate, approvals are required for campaigning and, in the case of a successful campaign or appointment, holding the office as the time commitment and responsibilities will differ.
  2. Employees who are campaigning for, or who hold public office, shall adhere to Section IV of this Administrative Regulation regarding general rules for political activities and campaigning.

Process

A request for unpaid special leave to engage in political activities or hold a public office shall be submitted in a timely manner and in accordance with Human Resources Policy & Procedure #85.0, Special Leaves (staff), or Governing Regulation X.B.3.b (faculty).  The primary consideration for authorizing a special unpaid leave is that it serves the best interest of the University.

Related Policies

GR I, Section G, Use of University Property and Resources

GR X.B.3.b., Faculty Members as Scholars and Citizens

KRS 164,160 and 164.200

Archived Versions of this Policy

Previous version: revised 07-19-2007
Previous version: revised 04-01-2006
Previous version: revised 07-11-2002
Previous version: revised 04-01-1990