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11.22 / Political Activities and Campus Facilities

Purpose:
The purpose of this statement is to set forth University policy with regard to the use of campus facilities for political purposes.

Preamble:
Wichita State University is committed to the free expression of political views by members of the campus community and to the value of discourse and debate as an important part of the education experience. On the other hand, Wichita State University must comply with provisions governing its tax exempt status as a state educational institution of Kansas, is mindful of the need to comply with policies of the Kansas Board of Regents and understands the importance of neutrality with regard to politics and political campaigns.

Policy Statement:

1.  Campus facilities shall not be made available for campaigning, electioneering or fundraising events for candidates for political office or for political parties.

2.  Political office holders and candidates may not be introduced or recognized on campus unless they are participating in a campus event1 which they are attending.

3.  Politicians and/or political parties may hold political meetings2 in University facilities provided that:

a.  There is no interference with regularly scheduled functions or activities of the University;

b.  Other facilities in the community3 are not otherwise available;

    c.  Students are permitted to hear speakers without charge; and

    d.  Sponsors of the meeting pay, in advance, the regular fees assessed for use of said facilities.

4.  The distribution of handbills or political leafleting is subject to the requirements of Section 11.12 and Section 11.13.

5.  Student organizations may sponsor an event which involves candidates for political office for educational purposes as long as all candidates are given an opportunity to be present and provide information on a neutral and non-partisan basis. Such events must be open to the public.

6.  Student organizations may advocate publicly a position on a political issue, provided the organization clearly identifies itself as a student organization and communicates in any public statement that it does not represent or speak on behalf of the University.

7.  Students, faculty and staff may engage freely in comment on political issues or public policy as individual citizens, provided they clearly identify that the opinions expressed are their own and do not represent the official position of Wichita State University.

8.  Use of the University's name, letterhead, logo and/or resources (including University computing and information technology resources) for partisan electoral purposes such as solicitation of funds or other contributions in support of a political party or candidates, endorsement of candidates for public office, or advocating a position with regard to a public issue (other than an authorized spokesperson on behalf of the University) is strictly prohibited.

9.  It is recognized that political office holders and candidates may contribute greatly to the education of students and said individuals may be requested to provide classroom instruction; provided, however, that faculty should be vigilant and cognizant of the need for neutrality and fairness in seeking classroom visitors.
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1 This would include a meeting exclusively sponsored by students for their own political education.

2 Minutes of the Kansas Board of Regents would suggest that such meetings would include "partisan political gatherings."

3 The individual or organization requesting meeting space must reasonably establish that all other facilities of comparable size to accommodate the expected audience in the City of Wichita are already booked or for some other reason unavailable.

Implementation:
This policy shall be included in the WSU Policies and Procedures Manual and shared with appropriate constituencies of the University.

Effective Date:
July 1, 2010

(See also Political Activity at Section 3.17 of this manual.)

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