St. Cloud State University Policies & Procedures

Political Activity Link☍

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Current Status: Approved

Policy Type: All University

Effective Date: 09/20/2016

Last Updated: 09/21/2018

Applies To: Students, Faculty, Staff, Visitors

Responsible University Officer: President

Policy Owner: President

Policy Contact: Special Advisor to the President

Rationale

It is the mission of St. Cloud State University to prepare our students for life and citizenship, and thus, open and vigorous discussion of political ideas-- while maintaining neutrality on candidates and ballot issues; is encouraged.

Policy

University Neutrality

No student or university employee may claim or suggest by word or action that the University supports, endorses, or lends its name to a candidate or political party. University representatives issuing an invitation or sponsoring a political event, must make clear in all publicity the neutrality of the University. Decisions about scheduling or supporting speakers shall be made in a viewpoint neutral manner. This means that the decision cannot be based on the content of the person or group’s message. It is generally permissible to have reasonable time, place, and manner rules that apply to all persons and groups.

Sponsorship

Registered student organizations and/or a university office or department may use University facilities for events that are primarily for students, faculty, and staff and for educational purposes. Thus, candidates for public office may be invited to speak in University facilities. Facilities use by political parties or candidates will be permitted only through the direct sponsorship of a registered student organization and/or a university office or department. The sponsoring student organization or university representative must fully understand and comply with all University political solicitation and dissemination policy requirements.
If the inviting or sponsoring party is a registered student organization, all advertising and publicity must clearly and prominently note the name of that student organization.

Student Elections

St. Cloud State University student election candidates’ posters and banners will be posted in the Atwood Memorial Center and on the University campus in full compliance with Student Government Association election rules and University posting [advertising messaging] policies.

Event Scheduling and Use of Outdoor Space

Candidates, not specifically invited by University representatives to present at St. Cloud State University, may campaign in outdoor spaces of the University as prescribed by Minnesota statutes and SCSU facilities use policies. Political parties and candidates for public office may use University facilities for public meetings if facilities are available, through rental procedures administered by the University. SCSU will not rent space to one candidate, or to one party or position in a ballot initiative, and refuse another.

Residence Halls

Political candidates and campaign workers must be allowed access to campaign in student housing subject to the policies of SCSU Residential Life. Such restrictions include exclusion from particular rooms or apartments, requiring identification, limiting the number of people and hours of visit, and requiring prior appointments.

Procedure

Political Activities

SCSU is subject to the policies of Minnesota State and Minnesota statutes relative to campaigning, elections, political activity and voting. It is important for students, faculty, and staff to understand these policies and laws.

Primary, Election and Caucus Days Scheduling Restrictions

On general election and primary days, including city and county elections; colleges and universities are prohibited from scheduling events, other than regularly scheduled classes, between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Classes regularly scheduled during those hours may be held as usual. On caucus days no events, including classes, can be scheduled after 6:00 p.m.

St. Cloud State University is not prohibited from allowing an outside group or person (e.g., local scout troop) to schedule use of campus facilities during these hours, so long as staffing is available.

If a political party precinct caucus scheduled for one date is moved to another date the same restrictions apply, so long as the Secretary of State has announced the new caucus date. St. Cloud State University must make its facilities available for major political party precinct caucuses, legislative district conventions, and county conventions on the same basis that facilities are rented to others. Charges may not exceed the lowest amount charged to any public or private group.


Primary or Election Day Polling Location Prohibitions

Minnesota Statute 211B.11 provides clear guidance about prohibitions on the day of a primary or election. A violation of this statute is a petty misdemeanor. All SCSU students, faculty and staff are encouraged to read the entire statute since SCSU is a public place that may be used as a polling location. Following are key elements from the statute:

  • The prohibitions of the statute apply within a polling place, within 100 feet of the polling place, or anywhere on public property on which a polling place is situated.
  • Campaign materials, signs, political badges, buttons, or insignia (except for the “I VOTED” sticker) may not be posted, displayed, provided, disseminated, or worn on primary or election day.
  • No person shall ask, solicit, or in any manner try to induce or persuade a voter about their vote on primary or election day, including those persons who are transporting a voter to a polling place.

Frequently Asked Questions

These are the answers to the most frequently asked questions:

Can I use my university email to contact or communicate with Political candidates and officers?

State employees and students can make incidental use of university e-mail to communicate with politicians.

Can I show my support for a political candidate by wearing buttons or pins?

Except on a primary or election day when SCSU is a polling location, employees may wear buttons or pins unless they are prohibited from doing so by a uniform or dress code policy specific to their work unit.

Can I post signs or show my support of political candidates or parties?

Except on a primary or election day when SCSU is a polling location, employees may post signs of a political nature, including political speech, outside of public view or public access, but should always be mindful and respectful of co-workers when doing so.

Can I run for Public Office?

Employees may seek public office but not campaign during work time, in state uniform or on state premises.

Can I encourage others to vote, donate to political candidates, or support candidates or ballot measures?

Supervisors may not attempt to persuade co-workers to vote, donate money or support a particular candidate or ballot measure.

I cannot get to the polling station because of my schedule work hours; how can I vote?

Employees must be allowed to take time off to vote in state and primary elections.

I'm entitled to attend a party caucus, but the schedule conflicts with my work hours?

State law allows employees who are entitled to attend a major political party caucus, and who provide the employer at least ten days' written notice, to be absent from work for the purpose of attending the caucus during the time for which the caucus is scheduled. The employer may not impose a "penalty or deduction from salary or wages on account of the absence other than a deduction in salary for the time of absence from employment." (Minn. Stat. 202A.19 Subd. 2.)

Where can I find information about election/pricinct dates?

Please refer to the website of the Office of General Counsel at Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. 

Keywords

Polling, political party, polling locations, precinct caucus, political candidates, Legislative districts, General elections, political activities, primary elections, solicit, public office, student organizations, student election, Prohibitions, University representatives, Minnesota Statute , Neutrality, political event

Supporting URLs

Websites, Related External Documents, Statutes

Definitions

Assembly

A group or gathering of individuals whether organized or spontaneous.

Disruptive Activity

Obstruction, disruption, or interference with classes, research, events, ceremonies, speakers, performances, meeting rooms, administrative functions, or other university activities.

Events

Activities that include, but are not limited to, official meetings, practices, competitions or trips involving students, registered student organizations, or intercollegiate athletic teams.

Sponsor

The St. Cloud State University employee responsible for coordinating or being in charge of, the volunteer program , project, or event.

University Property

All land, buildings, facilities, parking lots and other property in the possession of, owned, rented, leased, maintained, or controlled by St. Cloud State University. The term Campus may be used interchangeably with University Property. 

Contacts

Responsible University Officer
   Wacker, Robbyn R.
   President
 
rrwacker@stcloudstate.edu
320-308-2122
Owner
   Wacker, Robbyn R.
   President
 
rrwacker@stcloudstate.edu
320-308-2122
Contact
   Siminoe, Judith P.
   Special Advisor to the President
 
jpsiminoe@stcloudstate.edu
320-308-2181

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