Political Activities of Employees

Sept. 4, 2020

To the Anteater community:

The local, state, and national 2020 campaigns are well underway with our fellow California voters casting their ballots for their choice of candidates on November 3rd. Candidate signs are starting to appear and soon our mailboxes will overflow with candidate and ballot initiative information. You are encouraged to be an active participant in the political process byregistering to vote and exercising your individual right to vote. Information on voting can be found at the OC Registrar of Voters or the California Secretary of State.

As this campaign season is heating up, we want to provide you with answers to questions about what is appropriate political activity for UCI employees at work.

  • As a state entity and a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization, the university is prohibited from being directly or indirectly involved in campaigns of candidates for public office, political parties, or in connection with specific ballot propositions.
  • Established University of California policy prohibits the use of university equipment, supplies and services for, or in connection with, political campaign activities.
  • University email services, although permitted for incidental personal use, may not be used to give the impression that the user represents, gives opinions or otherwise makes statements on behalf of the university unless appropriately authorized to do so.
  • The UC policy, “Restrictions on the Use of University Resources and Facilities for Political Activities,” provides guidance on how to avoid the appearance of opinions in a way that mistakenly implies endorsement by the university.
  • The UC Office of the President has provided Legal Guidelines for UC Participation in Ballot Campaigns. UCI policy also clarifies that individuals or groups within the university community are not permitted (unless expressly authorized) to use campus letterhead to present opinions in ways that imply endorsement by the university.

As an individual, you may endorse any political candidate or either side of a ballot initiative, but you must take care to avoid any inference of university endorsement of a particular position or candidate. UCI employees may use their work title for identification purposes, but they should include a disclaimer if the context might reasonably cause confusion as to whether a political endorsement made is in an official or unofficial capacity.

These policies apply to each of us in our roles within the university and in no way constitute prohibitions on the right of any individual to express personal political views. In fact, you are encouraged to participate in the political process on your own time, with your own personal resources and without any representation of the university’s position.

If you have questions or need further clarification, please feel free to contact me atanteateradvocate@uci.edu.

Be sure to vote on November 3rd!

Sincerely,

P. Alberto Sandoval
Senior Director of Community & Government Relations
Strategic Communications and Public Affairs