Institutions like the University of Florida may not participate in any political campaign or provide anything of value to support or oppose a candidate for public office. University facilities (unless rented through Business Affairs), e-mail, logos, and other resources may not be used for campaigning.
Of course, University employees have the important right to freely participate in political campaigns in their personal capacity at times that do not interfere with their work responsibilities. Also, the University and its employees may conduct educational and academic research activities about candidates and issues.
University employees may not participate in elective campaigns during their work time, use their offices to influence or interfere with an election, or solicit funds from other state employees to support or oppose a candidate in a coercive manner. In University buildings, funds may not be solicited from anyone to support or oppose a candidate (unless the space is rented from Business Affairs).
Certain areas of the campus, such as the Plaza of the Americas, are open for public speech, including political speech. Speech activities in these areas are encouraged, and may be conducted within UF’s reasonable regulations that ensure activities do not interfere with University work and do not create unsafe conditions or violations of law.
When necessary to avoid confusion, employees should make clear they are expressing personal opinions–and not speaking in their official roles or on behalf of the University–when taking a position for or against a candidate.
Running for Public Office
- UF employees who wish to run for public office must complete an Outside Activities Form, approved by their unit Dean, Director or VP.
- UF employees should not utilize their University communication systems for campaigning (email, website, etc)
- UF employees running for office should ensure that all of the time spent on their campaign activities is recorded as leave time and keep record of that for their files
- UF employees who wish to assist or contribute to a campaign should do so on their personal time and not on University time. There is not a need for those individuals to complete an outside activities form unless they are playing an official role in the campaign.
- UF employees seeking public office should consult with their own advisors and counsel for any legal and ethical obligations required of them as individuals. UF counsel cannot advise employees on their campaign related activities.