Being a state employee does not mean you lose any of your constitutional rights to participate, or not participate, as you desire in the political process as long as such participation is not on work time and does not involve the use of university property. However, what each employee may do on the job, with state resources, using or implicating the name of the university, or otherwise affecting your job responsibilities is highly regulated by law as well as by UNC system policy.
The UNC System Office website summarizes the laws and policies and is intended as a helpful resource to address questions you may have. The statutory/policy provisions apply explicitly to the use of public resources in support of, or in opposition to, partisan political campaigns. They are not intended to limit discussion among faculty, administrators, and other State employees regarding political or campaign issues or candidates or to limit debates at which candidates have equal time.
Below are links to relevant policies and forms, referenced in the attachment:
- Political Activities of Employees (UNC Policy Manual 300.5.1)
- Candidacy for Elective Office; Office holding (Elective and Appointive Public Office) (UNC Policy Manual 300.5.2)
- Petition Regarding Political Activity
With regard to the university, it is prohibited from engaging in substantial quantities of lobbying for the purposes of influencing legislation. Some lobbying is permitted and the university does engage with public officials on legislation affecting the university. However the university tracks these activities to ensure compliance with all associated laws and policies. As a result, no university division, college, department, office or employee (in his/her official capacity) may engage in lobbying activities without first contacting the university’s Executive Director of External Affairs, the university’s registered legislative liaison. This requirement includes if you are called to testify, answer questions or provide information to a state board, commission, committee, agency, the NC General Assembly or Congress. In addition, all activities of UNCP’s legislative liaison are coordinated with the UNC System’s State Government Relations office. N.C.G.S. 120C-500