Office of General Counsel

Political Activity Fact Sheet: Arizona Law

 

Introduction

Permissible Activities

Prohibited Activities

Policies and Resources

Notes

 

Introduction

With limited exceptions,(1) you do not give up any of your constitutional rights to participate in the political process by virtue of becoming an employee of Arizona State University.

ASU, through the Arizona Board of Regents, is funded in significant part by state appropriations. As a faculty or staff member of ASU, you are provided with office space, and support services (e.g., computers, printers, telephones, voice mail, fax machines, photocopy machines, e-mail accounts, intra-campus mail services, fleet management, paper, ink, envelops, pens, etc.) to perform your job efficiently and effectively. This property, equipment and supplies are all owned by and/or considered to be "University property." ARS § 15-1633 prohibits the use of university personnel and resources to influence the outcome of elections. This briefing paper has been prepared to provide guidelines on your rights and responsibilities as an employee of a publicly funded state university when you wish to participate in political activity.(2)

A simple way to distinguish permissible activities from prohibited activities is to refrain from engaging in political activity on University time or with University resources and/or property. Political activities should be conducted on your own personal time and with your own personal resources.

Permissible Activities

  • Join the political party of your choice
  • Vote in any municipal, special district, school, county, state or federal election
  • Circulate and sign candidate nomination or recall petitions, ballot initiatives or referenda (only in permissible University areas)
  • Make contributions to candidates, political parties or campaign committees
  • Solicit contributions on behalf of candidates
  • Express an opinion; display badges, buttons, and bumper stickers
  • Attend meetings for the purpose of becoming informed about candidates for public office or about political issues

Prohibited Activities

  • Express use of the University's name or implied endorsement by the University of a particular candidate, e.g., you cannot use:
    • ASU letterhead
    • ASU e-mail accounts
    • ASU telephone lines (phone and fax) and voice mail systems
  • You cannot state (orally or in writing) that you are speaking for or on behalf of ASU
  • University property, equipment or supplies, e.g., you cannot use:
    • ASU telephones (including cell phones)
    • ASU Mail Services
    • ASU photocopiers
    • ASU fax machines
    • ASU computers, laptops, or e-mail accounts
    • stationery, paper, envelopes purchased by the University
    • University generated electronic data (any request must comply with Arizona's Public Records Act, ARS § 39-121 et seq.)
  • ASU buildings, walls and grounds cannot be used to post campaign signs for any candidates or ballot initiatives or referendums. (Exceptions: (1) a student residing in a university residence hall may display a campaign sign in his or her room's wall, door or window, and (2) ASU may rent or lease its facilities to partisan or ballot measure groups on the same basis and conditions as other groups who are permitted to rent or lease its facilities under a Facilities Use Agreement and during the period of rental or lease, the group post signs on walls or fences of the facility space being rented or leased.)
  • University Time: you cannot engage in political activities during your regularly assigned work hours.
  • Hold a state senate or house of representative seat (unless faculty member or academic professional who has primary responsibility for course instruction)(other university employees can run and if elected, must resign their university position)

Policies and Resources

The following policies and resources may be applicable and should be reviewed in appropriate circumstances

Arizona Revised Statutes

ARS § 15-1633

Attorney General Guidance on Use of University Resources to Influence the Outcome of Elections (2006)

 

Arizona Board of Regents Policies

1-102 - Lobbying

6-905 - Political Activity

 

ASU Policies

Faculty

  1. ACD 205-01 - Political Activity and Lobbying
  2. ACD 204-01 - Code of Ethics (see "Responsibilities to University" and "Responsibilities to the Community" sections)
  3. ACD 204-02 - Standards of Professional Conduct for Faculty Members and Academic Professionals (see "Speech As Private Citizens" section)
  4. ACD 204-03 - Use of the University's Name

Staff

  1. SPP 704-01 - Voting Leave
  2. SPP 813 - Code of Conduct for Business Activities (see "Private Endorsements" section)
  3. SPP 801 - Employee Conduct and Work Rules (see "Property" section)

Students

  1. SSM 1001-03 - Residence Hall Canvassing
  2. SSM 801-04 - Petitioning, Distributing, and Posting Literature In and Near the Memorial Union

 

ASU Resources

Office of the Registrar

IT - E-Mail Use Policy

University Mail Services

Notes

1. Arizona Constitution, article IV, part 2, § 5 prohibits employees of the State of Arizona from serving in the state legislature unless employed as a teacher or instructor in the public school system. Accordingly, faculty may hold a state legislative office; however, academic professionals (except those who are course instructors), university staff and classified staff members cannot serve unless they resign their university position.

2. This summary does not address the permissible scope of activities of:

  1. lobbyists on behalf of ASU,
  2. affiliated entities of ASU (e.g., Arizona State University Foundation, Arizona State University Alumni Association), or
  3. students enrolled at ASU.

 


Some of the legal material found at this site has been abridged from laws, regulations, court decisions, administrative rulings, ABOR and ASU policies and other sources. Further details may be necessary for complete analysis and understanding in particular matters. The information contained at this site, and related links, is not a substitute for professional legal counsel. Any discrepancy between the information at this site and ASU policy is not intended to alter or amend official ASU policy or procedure.

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