Statutes detail limits of political activity

With election season hitting high gear, NAU wants to remind all employees that state statutes prohibit university employees from stating or implying that they are speaking on behalf of the university on a political or electoral issue.

Additionally, statutes prohibit using university property, equipment, supplies or other resources (including phones, mail service, photocopiers, e-mail accounts, stationery, or other items paid for by the university) for political or electoral advocacy.

The statutes do not limit student political activities, and employees are free to participate on their own time in any lawful political activities provided they do not purport to speak or act in the name of the university. For example, employees cannot send a letter to the editor with their university affiliation attached.

Examples of activities in which university employees may engage on their own time include:

  • signing candidate nomination, recall, initiative and referendum petitions
  • making contributions to candidates, political parties or campaign committees
  • soliciting contributions on behalf of candidates
  • attending and participating in political meetings

The Arizona Revised Statutes can be found online. The Arizona Board of Regents has a policyaddressing the issues.

Additionally, NAU and the Arizona Board of Regents each have policies on lobbying on behalf of the university. University employees are prohibited from representing the university in lobbying efforts unless they have direct authorization from the president and are registered as a lobbyist.

If you are in doubt about appropriate activity, contact your supervisor.