Political Activity at Duquesne University
Last Revised: 9/2012
Responsible University Office:
Policy: The University is dedicated to a broad concept of education which includes the use of physical facilities for activities which may provide valuable educational experiences. Therefore, participation in political process by students, faculty, and staff can and should be an educational experience. Persons within the University are free to exercise their rights as citizens and to be politically active, either individually or through groups and organizations.
The University is, however, the possessor of considerable material resources which have been acquired through its status as a tax-exempt institution of higher learning. This tax-exempt status is based on the institution’s fulfillment of the requirements set forth in part in Section 501 (3) of the Internal Revenue Code, which provides in effect that:
An educational institution qualifies for tax exemption as a recipient of deductible contributions provided that the institution “does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing and distribution of statements), any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office.”
Duquesne University must safeguard its tax-exempt status by establishing guidelines for those of the University community wishing to exercise their citizen’s right to participate in political activities on or off campus.
The eligibility of an organization to use University facilities will be determined by the appropriate Vice President based upon the nature of the organization and by the appropriateness of the activity to be conducted in that space.
Organizations may utilize available University facilities to engage in educational nonpartisan political activities directed solely to the campus community subject in some instances to rental charges where called for by University room or facility rental regulations.
When endorsing or opposing a candidate for political office or taking a position on an issue for the purpose of assisting or opposing a candidate, individuals and groups associated with Duquesne University shall take special care to make it clear that they are speaking only for themselves and not for the University, and that their endorsement of a candidate or position on an issue shall not in any way be considered as being that of the University.
Faculty and staff may engage in partisan political activities provided it is not done at the expense of their regular responsibilities to the University and its students.
Duquesne University’s name, logo, or seal shall not be used on stationery or other material used for political purpose, including soliciting funds for political support or conducting a political campaign.
Contributions shall not be solicited in the name of or collected by Duquesne University for political support or conducting a political campaign. University-related organizations or individual’s soliciting funds for political purposes must include in such solicitations a statement clearly indicating that such contributions are not made to Duquesne University and are not tax-deductible as such.
The University’s bulk-mailing privilege shall not be used for political purposes; nor shall the University’s mailing lists be used for such purposes.
University addresses and e-mail, including those of departmental offices, faculty, students, and staff offices, or officially recognized student organizations, shall not be used as mailing addresses for political purposes. Neither the University’s inter-office mail system nor e-mail system shall be used for mailing of political materials.
Campus-based organizations that participate in political campaigns of candidates or that attempt to influence legislation or political issues will be required to pay proper and appropriate charges for incidental costs that such activities impose on the University, such as reimbursement for telephones or duplicating in addition to any rental costs for facilities or equipment.
Staff, including office and other employees, shall not be asked to perform tasks related to partisan political activities while on duty at the University.
No campus-based organization shall use monies acquired from the University’s budget allocation, to finance political activities.
Any political activity whether sponsored by campus-based organizations or by external organizations may be terminated immediately, if found in violation of the above procedures, and billed for expenses related to use of the University facilities.