Senate of the Urbana-Champaign Campus

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November 3, 2008


Prefiled Resolution
(Final; Action)

GP.09.02         Resolution on Allowed Political Activities of Campus Employees

Whereas,          The Senate General University Policy Committee welcomes the email from UI President White of October 6, 2008. Addressed to all faculty, academic professionals, civil service staff, graduate and undergraduate students, it states that the newsletter Ethics Matters Issue 4, distributed by the UI Ethics Office a week earlier, is not a University policy statement; and

Whereas,          President White states that:
We, the leadership of the University of Illinois, will preserve, protect
and defend the constitutionally guaranteed rights of every member of our
University community, including, of course, freedom of speech and
assembly. We will also preserve, protect and defend academic freedom,
which is a core value of every great academic institution; and

Whereas,          And that, contrary to the UI Ethics newsletter, University faculty, staff, and student employees (lumped together as simply "employees") can:
-- Attend partisan political rallies, provided that the employees are not on duty
-- Wear partisan political buttons, provided that employees at that time are neither on duty nor in the workplace of the University (many parts of campus are not workplaces)

-- Display partisan bumper stickers on their vehicles; and

Whereas,          Not allowing the use of University resources and time for political activities is an easily understood policy that does not infringe on an employee's constitutional rights. But GUP feels that the prohibition on political buttons during work time and in the workplace violates freedom of speech.

Be it resolved that
The UIUC Senate reaffirms the University as a community of open discourse and free exchange of ideas. University policy on political activities should reflect this. Each faculty, staff, and student employee should be allowed to use his or her judgment as to what is appropriate regarding political buttons.

Senate Committee on
General University Policy
John Prussing, Chair
John Hummel
Carol Livingstone
Mary Mallory
Carlos Rosa
Irene Sukhnatska
Matthew Wheeler
Hung-Chang Yao
Feniosky Pena-More (Ex officio)