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Political and Lobbying Activity at Baylor

Sept. 13, 2012

Baylor University encourages faculty, staff, and student participation in the political process related to local, state, and federal governments. Moreover, every individual affiliated with the University has the right to join political associations and to advocate and publicize his or her political opinions. However, in keeping with state and federal law, political activities of faculty, staff, and students, including campaigning for candidates or for issues, must be separate and distinct from identification with and activities of the University.

Baylor University's Office of Government Relations supervises and manages all political and lobbying activity by Baylor University. The Office of Government Relations has adopted a policy regarding political activity. Here are some highlights from that policy:

(1) Employees do not have the authority to speak for Baylor University. Any individual political or lobbying activity undertaken by a Baylor employee should be very careful to specify that the employee is speaking solely for themselves, as individuals, and not for the institution. Because this activity is not University-related, use of University resources (including letterhead, faxes, and email) should be avoided.

(2) All political fundraising on campus is strictly prohibited, whether by Baylor University, a student organization, or an outside entity.

(3) The University recognizes that presentations by political candidates may be a relevant component of its educational mission in certain disciplines. A faculty member may invite a candidate to speak to a regularly-scheduled class provided that the faculty member consults with the Office of Government Relations regarding the invitation prior to its issuance. If a faculty member invites one candidate for a particular office to speak to a regularly-scheduled class, then the faculty member should make every effort to invite all candidates for that office to speak to the class on equivalent terms in a timely manner.

(4) Students may earn course credit for participation in political campaigns, provided that such participation is an integral part of a particular class and that all students in that class are permitted to work for a campaign of their choice.

(5) Student organizations may invite specific candidates to speak at their organizational meetings, provided that the visit is coordinated by the Office of Government Relations and adheres fully to the Office's policies and procedures.

(6) There are situations where an individual is a candidate for public office but is speaking or appearing at Baylor University in a non-candidate capacity. Such appearances may be permitted provided that they are coordinated by the Office of Government Relations and adhere fully to the Office's policies and procedures. In order to ensure such appearances or events are not campaign-related, the University will not approve such events less than three months prior to a general or primary election.

Questions pertaining to political or lobbying activity by the University, Baylor employees or student groups should be directed to the Office of Government Relations (254-710-3684).