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UW rules for the political season

Since 2008 is an election year, it is time to remind all CALS employees of current and state law as well as university policies regarding employee political activities while at work and the use of university facilities or resources for political activities or purposes. There are three restrictions that should be noted:

1.    It is a violation of state law for a UW employee to engage in political activities while at work. This includes working on or assisting with a political campaign; displaying signs and similar items or materials to support a partisan candidate in the workplace and using campus mail, telephones and equipment for political activities

2.    It is a violation of state law for anyone to ask a UW employee to make a political contribution or help a campaign while the employee is at work. This includes sending a request for a contribution to volunteer for a campaign to an employee’s work address or work email address.

3.    It is a violation of state law to enter a UW building or facility for the purpose of requesting a contribution or help for a political campaign. There is an exception however for the University residence halls.

In addition to these specific restrictions on political activities, state and university policies restrict the use of university time, facilities, equipment, information technology resources and supplies to university business. Note that WiscMail accounts are considered UW “information technology resources” and are subject to the same restriction on use for political purposes as regular campus email accounts.

For a full copy of the campus policy as well as reference documents, please go to http://www.wisc.edu/legal/political.pdf.

Please contact Linda Nigbor at 262-3337 or Meghan Owens at 265-2224 with any questions.

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