March 5, 2012

Using University Resources for Campaign Purposes

By Office of the Provost

Colleagues,

As we approach a busy electoral season, please remember that University of Washington employees–like all state employees–are prohibited from using University resources (including phones, computers, software, and email systems) for campaign purposes.

The Washington Ethics Act makes it illegal to use any state property or facilities to support or oppose ballot propositions (such as initiatives and referendums) or to assist or oppose any candidate for election. The State Ethics Board takes the rules against campaigning very seriously and has often brought enforcement actions against individual employees. This issue is also addressed in the University’s own Administrative Policy Statement on Personal Use of University Facilities, Computers, and Equipment by University Employees.

Further information can be found at the State Ethics Board website. Among the materials is a helpful memorandum on Use of Public Funds/Facilities on Election Campaigns, written by the Washington State Attorney General’s Office.

Between now and November, you may see a number of political candidates speaking at various venues on our campuses. These appearances are permitted forms of civic engagement under the University’s Use of University Facilities rules, so long as all costs associated with the appearances are paid by the campaigns.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the office of the UW Internal Auditor, which serves as the University’s advisor on ethics issues.

Ana Mari Cauce
Provost and Executive Vice President

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact provost@u.washington.edu

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