Political Activity

USU's Commitment to Polictical Activity

Utah State University values and encourages community and civic engagement, and supports individuals’ active participation in public affairs during their personal time and with their personal resources.  Consistent with its Policy of Free Expression and Assembly, USU encourages and supports the free expression and exchange of ideas and views by all members of its community, including the expression of political views and freedom to engage in scholarship related to political life and discourse.

To provide clear direction on Political Activity by USU and by its employees, USU recently adopted USU Policy 506: Political Activity.

Institutional Political Activity and Legislative Communications

Under federal and state law, USU may not participate or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for political office.  While the University itself may engage in efforts to influence legislation, the amount of resources USU may devote to such activities is limited by law.  As a result, even efforts approved by USU’s President to lobby and engage in political activity on the University’s behalf must be coordinated and tracked carefully.

Under USU Policies, only the President and their designees are authorized to speak or issue statements on behalf of the University.  Similarly, pursuant to Utah law and Utah Board of Higher Education Policy, only the President, the Provost, and the Vice President for Government and External Affairs (as appointed by the President) are authorized to engage in legislative communications, including advocating for or against state or federal legislation on behalf of the University.   For a definition of legislative communications, see USU Policy 506. 

The Office of Government and External Affairs (OGEA) coordinates all University contacts with public officials and candidates for political office, including University advocacy activities.  Any USU employee who communicates with a government official or political candidate on behalf of the University, must contact OGEA and follow the appropriate procedures. 

Personal Political Activity

Unless authorized by the President, employees may not engage in Political Activity when acting in their professional role. This means that employees may not engage in political activity using USU resources or during work hours.   Further, USU employees must avoid the promotion of, or opposition of, any particular political organization, candidate, or cause in fulfilling their institutional responsibilities.

In in their capacities as a private citizens  employees are free to contact elected officials, support political candidates, and advocate for political issues .  Students, faculty, and staff should ensure that their personal statements and advocacy do not disrupt the workplace or University operations, and that they do not interfere with the University’s educational mission.  

Campaign-Related Activities in University Facilities

Subject to availability, USU regularly permits the rental of certain University facilities for private events at fair market value and on a neutral and equitable basis, including for political or campaign-related activities    The University also makes its facilities available to registered political parties to use for various political activities, without discrimination, in accordance with Utah law. 

To schedule and make event reservations at USU facilities or property, please contact USU’s Event Services.