Policies

Political Candidate or Campaign Policy

Adopted by: President's Staff
Owner: Strategic Communications
Pertains to: All students, faculty, and staff
Description: This policy outlines the regulations Hamline University, its faculty, staff, and students, including student organizations, must follow in regard to political campaigns and candidates.
Details:

This policy outlines the regulations Hamline University, its faculty, staff, and students, including student organizations, must follow in regard to political campaigns and candidates. The first section summarizes guidelines provided by the American Council on Education. The second section outlines requirements for rental contracts with a political campaign or candidate (or their designees), and the third section outlines requirements for student organizations wishing to sponsor political campaign or candidate events. The fourth section addresses access to residence halls for purposes of campaigning.

SECTION I: AMERICAN COUNCIL ON EDUCATION GUIDELINES

The American Council on Education (ACE) recently released guidelines on permitted and prohibited political campaign-related activities on college and university campuses. Members of the Hamline community are expected to follow the ACE guidelines, as well as applicable law, when engaging in activities relating to political campaigns or candidates. The ACE guidelines review a number of important activities, including:

Voter education. Universities are permitted to conduct voter education activities as long as they are carried out in a non-partisan manner. Permitted activities include non-partisan voter registration activities, circulation of questionnaires to candidates for an office (provided the questionnaires cover a broad range of subjects and do not express an editorial opinion), and training programs designed to increase understanding of the electoral process or to encourage students, faculty and staff to become involved in the process.

  • Candidate appearances. Universities may invite political candidates to speak at events or public forums as long as all candidates are provided equal access and opportunities to speak. Universities are prohibited from institutionally endorsing a particular candidate at those events. In addition, campaign fundraising at university events and forums is prohibited. Individuals may also be invited to speak for reasons other than his or her candidacy, such as a classroom lecture or non-political university event, but they may not campaign or refer to an election. (For further detail, see Sections II and III below.)
  • Use of institutional resources. Acceptable uses of university resources include establishing genuine curricular activities; adjusting academic calendar to allow students to participate in the political process (if it does not favor a campaign or issue); and allowing recognized/chartered student groups to use institutional facilities for partisan political purposes (provided the student groups follow all rules and regulations as described in Section III below). Internal communications may be utilized to alert the Hamline community to events sponsored by student groups or rentals that are taking place on Hamline University property. Such communications must clearly list the sponsoring organization and must state that the university does not endorse any political candidates.
  • Participation in the electoral process by faculty, staff, and students. Curricular activities aimed at educating students with respect to the political process (e.g. allowing students as part of a class to participate in political campaign activities) are permitted as long as the university does not influence particular student choices. In general, members of the university community are entitled to participate in the election process, provided they do not speak or act in the name of the institution and do not use Hamline resources.

The ACE guidelines, as well as Hamline’s policies and procedures, are based on IRS rulings under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and the Federal Election Campaign Act. The penalties associated with improper political activity by a college or university are quite severe, and can include loss of the institution’s tax-exempt status and state or federal lawsuits, audits, or investigations.

SECTION II: GROUPS OR CAMPAIGNS WISHING TO RENT CAMPUS SPACES

During a political season, campaign offices or other supporters may wish to rent space on the university’s campus to hold rallies, speeches, fund-raisers, or other events. Any such rentals are subject to the same rules, regulations, policies, procedures and fees associated with any other contractual rental. No non-standard discounts or special privileges may be granted to political campaigns or candidates who rent Hamline space.

In addition to ensuring that the terms of the rental are consistent with Hamline’s standard practice, the Vice President for University Relations shall determine if a political rental will be accepted, under the following conditions:

  • No political test or affiliation will be required; all parties and views will be given equal access to rent space.
  • Candidates themselves must be present at the event; the university will not rent to events featuring surrogates.
  • Appropriate preparation time is available; this will change based on the current activity on the campus and will be determined by the Vice President and the Director of Conference and Event Services.

In addition, political events must also follow these guidelines:

  • Any announcement or advertisement of the appearance must bear the name of the sponsoring organization, and must clearly indicate that: (1) the university does not support or oppose candidates for public office; and (2) the opinions expressed at the appearance are not those of the university.
  • Admission to speaker appearances must be open to all members of the Hamline University community. Admission may not be restricted in any way due to the attendees’ political affiliations or views.
  • Candidates’ appearances on campus will be limited to the designated speaking/meeting site. Door-to-door or office-to-office campaigning or solicitation by the candidates is not permitted, except as provided in Section IV below.
  • The university may permit the presence of news media personnel during the appearance, but only if media access is permitted in a politically neutral manner. Media coverage and management must be coordinated with the university’s media relations director, and an appropriate fee for the director’s time will be charged to the renting organization.
  • If additional assistance from Hamline departments is needed, such as security, facilities, or technology staff, an appropriate fee for hours devoted to event preparation and staffing will be charged.

SECTION III: STUDENT GROUPS WISHING TO SPONSOR CANDIDATES OR SPEAKERS

Hamline University is committed to fostering an open and civil exchange of a diverse array of ideas, opinions, and viewpoints. To that end, the university welcomes and encourages student organizations to sponsor speakers who advocate varying ideas, opinions, and viewpoints, including candidates seeking election to public office.

However, as a tax-exempt entity under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, the university is prohibited from participating in or intervening in any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office. Therefore, to ensure that activities of members of the university do not jeopardize the university’s tax-exempt status, all student organizations sponsoring an appearance on the Hamline campus by political candidates, representatives of candidates, or representatives of political parties or political action committees must comply with, and must advise all speakers and their staffs of, the following guidelines:

Requests for space reservations and usage must comply with the requirements as set by Conference and Event Services

  • Candidates’ appearances on campus will be limited to the designated speaking/meeting site. Door-to-door or office-to-office campaigning or solicitation by the candidates is not permitted, except as provided in Section IV below.
  • Any appearance by a candidate for public office, or any person affiliated with, or speaking on behalf of, a candidate for public office, must be sponsored by a recognized university organization, except under contract as rental or if the appearance is in a non-candidate capacity. (See above.) All sponsoring organizations must obtain a space reservation from the Conference and Events Services Office before the appearance. Organizations not affiliated with the university are not eligible to use university space to host partisan political activities, except under contract as a rental. (See above.)
  • The university may not indicate any support of, or opposition to, any candidate for public office, nor may it promote such advocacy by others. No person or organization may use the university’s name, letterhead, logo, or seal for such purposes, or to solicit funds for, or otherwise support or oppose, any such campaign.
  • The speaker’s appearance may be a speech or question and answer session, organized in an academic environment, such as a lecture hall, classroom, or campus building. It shall not be conducted as a campaign rally or similar event. Rallies for candidates must be set up as rentals (see above) due to the additional costs and staff time incurred.
  • Any announcement or advertisement of the appearance must bear the name of the sponsoring organization, and must clearly indicate that: (1) the university does not support or oppose candidates for public office; and (2) the opinions expressed at the appearance are not those of the university.
  • The sponsoring organization must make it clear during the introduction of the speaker that the speaker was invited by the organization—not by Hamline University—and that Hamline University does not endorse or support any political candidates.
  • Admission to speaker appearances must be open to all members of the Hamline University community; the sponsoring student organization may choose whether to also admit the general public. Admission may not be restricted in any way due to the attendees’ political affiliations or views. No person or organization that is unaffiliated with the university, including the speaker, campaign staff, or any other organization, may exercise any control over admission to the event.
  • There shall not be any fundraising done by anyone during, or in connection with, the appearance. The sponsoring group must inform the speaker and the speaker’s campaign or organization of this requirement.
  • The university may permit the presence of news media personnel during the appearance, but only if media access is permitted in a politically neutral manner. The speaker, campaign staff, or any other organization or person not affiliated with Hamline University may not direct or control media coverage of the event. Any student organization that seeks or anticipates media coverage of the event is responsible to contact the Media Relations Director at 651-523-2475.
  • No university property or resources, including, without limitation, mailing lists and mail distribution services, duplicating and photocopying services, and communications infrastructure, may be used to support or oppose any candidate, political party, or political action committee.
  • Speakers and sponsoring groups must comply with any special restrictions or requirements that may apply to certain facilities. Please contact Conference and Event Services at 651-523-2474 for details.

To eliminate any appearance of sponsorship by the university, any services or expenses associated with the event that are not typically covered by the university will be billed to the sponsoring organization.

SECTION IV: CAMPAIGN ACCESS TO CAMPUS HOUSING

Hamline’s policy is to provide political candidates and accompanying campaign workers with access to campus housing in a manner that balances the candidate’s access rights with the safety and privacy needs of Hamline’s students. Prior arrangements are required and can be made by contacting the Dean of Students office.

Under Minnesota law, political candidates and campaign workers accompanying the candidate must be provided with access to multiple unit dwellings, including residence halls and other campus housing, solely for purposes of campaigning. Reasonable restrictions are permitted, including:

  • Requiring reasonable and proper identification;
  • Requiring a prior appointment; and
  • Limiting visits to a reasonable number of people or to reasonable hours.

Individuals have the right to deny access to their own living quarters. Access to a facility can be denied, or individuals can be expelled from a facility, for good cause.