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Faculty and Staff

A Primer on Political Activities

On March 15, North Carolina voters will decide on the $2 billion Connect NC Bond, which will benefit every public higher education institution in the state. Specifically, NC State will receive more than $160 million for two critical projects on Centennial Campus: the Engineering Oval and the Plant Science Initiative.

Certainly, there are opportunities to participate in the process by registering to vote here. Registration ends on Feb. 19. Absentee voting began Jan 25 and early voting begins March 3.

However, as members of a state agency, NC State staff, faculty and most administration are forbidden by law from engaging in advocacy for political parties, campaigns or causes on behalf of the university. (A few approved members of upper administration, such as Chancellor Randy Woodson and the deans of engineering and agriculture and life sciences are exempt from this prohibition.)

However, NC State is free to carry out its educational mission by engaging in some political activities and informing the voting public about the effects of the proposed bond, such as the university’s Connect NC Bond website.

NC State’s Office of General Counsel has prepared a primer on what university employees can and can’t do during the campaign season.

All employees have the right to freely express their views on any subject, including advocacy for or against candidates for public office and for or against political issues. Your status as an employee does not change your fundamental rights as a citizen to engage in the political process. This means that you are free to express your opinion, register to vote, participate in campaigns and elections, solicit or make campaign contributions, or become a candidate for political office.

However, these activities must be conducted independently from your NC State employment and consistent with university policy. The following prohibitions help maintain independence from your personal political actions and your NC State employment.

In summary, employees are permitted to engage in political activities so long as they are conducted independently from their employment. Activities should be conducted using personal time, non-university resources, in your individual capacity and without using the authority of your position.

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