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K-State Today

January 29, 2020

Do's and Don'ts regarding political activities

Submitted by Sue Peterson

As activity at the Kansas Legislature increases and throughout this election year, Kansas State University employees should be aware of the do's and don'ts concerning political activity. The Office of Governmental Relations has a list of current rules regarding political activities by state employees, including campaign and election activities. Being a state employee does not prohibit participation in the political process but there are some acts that are illegal or against university policy.

It is illegal for a state employee to use his or her position to influence another state employee to perform any political act. It also is illegal for a state employee to use state property or his or her time on the job for campaign purposes. According to the state statute, failure to comply with these may be grounds for dismissal, demotion or suspension of a permanent employee for personal conduct detrimental to state service.

University policy prohibits the use of university information technology resources, including email for political communications. Employees cannot use their professional position — unless assigned as a lobbyist — to influence governmental officials. Employees should be mindful of all policies concerning political activity on state property.

K-State employees are encouraged to be informed citizens. They may be a member of a political party of their choice; actively engage in campaigning for the party and candidate on their own time and with their own resources; and contribute personally to political party or candidate.

If there is any doubt as to whether a particular act is appropriate, either avoid the act or contact the Office of Governmental Relations. The office also offers several Legislative Review Sessions from noon to 1 p.m. in the K-State Student Union. These are open to all K-State faculty, staff and students and may help answer additional questions.