Office the President
September 11, 1970
TO MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATIONAL POLICY:
For Meeting of September 17, 1970
Re: Restrictions on the Use of University Facilities and Resources for Political Activities
This Statement supersedes my statement entitled Use of University Facilities and Resources which was distributed at the July meeting of this Committee. You will recall that, because of lack of time, we deferred discussion of that subject at the July meeting. I have carefully considered this subject, and as a result, I am issuing this revised statement.
As I stated in my July report on "Plan for Maintaining the Integrity of the University and its Academic Programs", the use of University facilities and resources is very much connected with the integrity of the University. The events of the last several months highlight the problem of balancing the rights of political expression, advocacy, and activity with the responsibility of assuring that University facilities and resources are not used for unjustifiable purposes.
There are both educational and legal reasons why the University must remain politically neutral. Educationally, the pursuit of truth and knowledge is only possible in an atmosphere of freedom, and if the University were to surrender its neutrality, it would jeopardize its freedom. Legally, Article IX, section 9, of the State Constitution provides in part that "The University shall be entirely independent of all political or sectarian influence and kept free therefrom in the appointment of its regents and in the administration of its affairs..."
There are Federal legal restraints as well. The American Council on Education has recently issued "Guidelines on Questions Relating to Tax Exemption and Political Activities", guidelines which the Commissioner of Internal Revenue regards as "fair and reasonable". The guidelines express concern that "institutions of higher education may inadvertently or otherwise involve themselves in political campaigns in such a way as to raise questions as to their entitlement to exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and as to liability under other provisions of Federal law," and provide in part that:
Educational institutions traditionally have recognized and provided facilities on an impartial basis to various activities on the college campuses, even those activities which have a partisan political bent, such as for example, the Republican, Democratic and other political clubs. This presents no problem. However, to the extent that such organizations extend their activities beyond the campus, and intervene or participate in campaigns on behalf of candidates for public office, or permit nonmembers of the university community to avail themselves of university facilities or services, an institution should in good faith make certain that proper and appropriate charges are made and collected for all facilities and services provided. Extraordinary or prolonged use of facilities, particularly by nonmembers of the university community, even with reimbursement, might raise questions. Such organizations should be prohibited [as in the University of California they are] from soliciting in the name of the university funds to be used in such off-campus intervention or participation.
Every member of the academic community has a right to participate or not, as he sees fit, in the election process. On the other hand, no member of that community should speak or act in the name of the institution in a political campaign [as our rules provide].
A copy of the guidelines and the response of Randolph W. Thrower, Commissioner of Internal Revenue, are attached. (See Attachment I.) I am calling these attachments to the attention of the Chancellors and am asking that they ensure that their campus regulations are compatible with the guidelines.
There are well-recognized difficulties in interpreting what is political. In today's disturbed social climate, what is political at one time may not be political at another. Supporting or opposing candidates or propositions in elections is clearly political, but there are grey areas in relation to issues. A distinction must also be drawn between political activity on the one hand, and instruction and research on politically related subjects on the other; certainly, scholarly instruction and research on politics is not only appropriate but desirable. There must be an examination of all the facts and circumstances surrounding an activity and, in the last analysis, the campus administrator must be responsible for determining its appropriateness.
It is important to reaffirm that the University does not restrict any member of the University community -- student, academic appointee, staff employee -- from exercising all political rights afforded to him as a member of society. It is equally important to clearly specify that no member of the University community may use University facilities and resources for political purposes except as specifically permitted by University regulations. The following portion of this document gets forth the University-wide policies which govern the use of University resources and facilities for political purposes. I am instructing the Chancellors to take whatever action is appropriate to make these policies applicable to their campuses and, where circumstances on a particular campus warrant, to implement further appropriate guidelines.
USE OF UNIVERSITY RESOURCES
Over the years, it has been generally understood that University resources, including supplies, equipment, services, and certain intangible assets such as the University's name, may be used only for purposes related to the University's primary functions of instruction, research, and public service. Many statements to this effect exist, including my reminder of May 29 to the faculty, a copy of which is attached. (See Attachment II.)
Notwithstanding this background, I believe it is necessary as the Fall political campaign season approaches to make it explicitly clear to all members of the University community that their personal political activities are not University business and therefore may not be supported either directly or indirectly by University resources. I an asking each Chancellor to examine all areas of campus operations to make certain that all resources under his jurisdiction are adequately protected from misuse through involvement in political activities. The following basic guidelines are now issued:
USE OF UNIVERSITY FACILITIES
As The Regents are aware, University-wide and campus regulations concerning use of University facilities have had considerable attention in recent years. These regulations stem largely from the work of The Regents' Special Committee to Review University Policies (the Meyer Committee) during 1964-65 and the issuance by the President of University of California Policies Relating to Students and Student Organizations, Use of University Facilities, and Nondiscrimination" on July 1, 1965. I have attached relevant portions of the current regulations, which relate specifically to speech and advocacy, student organizations, and use of facilities. (See Attachment III.)
Under delegated authority and in accord with University-wide policies, the Chancellors have consulted with their campus communities and have established principles and priorities for the use of facilities on their campuses. Campus regulations typically delineate time, place, and manner for exercising speech and advocacy, and provide for open discussion areas, placement of tables and posters, distribution of notices and handbills, fund raising, and reservation of meeting rooms. Such related subjects as charges for use of facilities and restrictions on the use of the University's name are also included.
In my estimation, University policies concerning the use of facilities have provided for the essential balance between protecting the speech and advocacy rights of individuals and groups and assuring that the University is not diverted from its essential functions or improperly implicated in non-University issues and activities. However, the experience of the past several months has demonstrated the need to emphasize to all individuals and groups authorized to use University facilities that political activities proper to campus forum areas cannot be carried over to the rest of the campus without seriously violating the University's policy of political neutrality, as well as materially interfering with regular educational and research activities. Therefore, a. supplementary to existing policies concerning the use of University facilities, the following basic guidelines are issued:
The limitations expressed in these guidelines in no way constitute prohibitions on the right to express political views by any individual in the University community. Nor is there any prohibition placed on faculty, students, or staff from participating, either as individuals or as members of groups, in the political process of supporting candidates for public office or any other political activity. University-wide and campus regulations concerning an individual's right of free expression and advocacy on the campus are unaltered by these guidelines.