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HRM-011: Campaigning for and Serving in a Public Office

Date: 06/05/2008 Status: Final
Last Revised: 07/20/2021
Policy Type: University
Contact Office: President (Office of the)
Oversight Executive: President of the University
Applies To:

Academic Division (Excludes the Medical Center).

Reason for Policy:

Assists the University in continuing to provide uninterrupted service should a faculty or staff member seek to serve in a position as an appointed or elected public official. The University is prohibited by federal tax law as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, from directly or indirectly providing resources to support a political campaign.

Definition of Terms in Statement:
  • Terms:There are no terms that require definition.
Policy Statement:

Faculty and staff members may campaign for themselves and serve in elective or appointive public office, provided their activities do not interfere with their University responsibilities and commitments or otherwise conflict with University policies. Faculty and staff members, however, must ensure that their campaigning and positions are neither misunderstood nor communicated as being endorsed by the University either directly or inferentially. University resources (including, but not limited to, University letterhead, email accounts, equipment, and staff) may be used to support only the mission of the institution.

  1. Faculty Responsibilities:
    Faculty are expected to inform their immediate supervisor, dean, and, if applicable, vice president in a timely fashion prior to seeking election to or campaigning for public office, so that the University may ensure that instructional and other duties will at all times be properly performed and managed.

    A leave of absence for personal reasons may be authorized if the campaign requires either more time than would customarily be allowed for consulting activity, or for protracted absences from Charlottesville or other regular University worksite. Such leave may be given for the duration of an election campaign or a term of office, on timely application, and for a reasonable period of time upon approval by the immediate supervisor, dean, and the responsible vice-president. The terms of such leave will be set forth in writing and will not affect unfavorably the tenure status of a faculty member; the time spent on such leave will not count toward the probationary period for faculty on the tenure track. A leave of absence shall be without pay, though a faculty member may credit such time against available annual leave.

  2. Staff Responsibilities:
    Staff members are expected to inform their immediate supervisor in a timely fashion prior to seeking election to public office. Staff members are expected to limit campaigning to off-duty hours; any campaign activity engaged in during work hours must be charged to personal leave or unpaid leave subject to supervisor approval. If elected, the term must be served during off-duty hours or must be charged to personal leave or unpaid leave subject to supervisor approval.

  3. Compliance with Policy:
    Failure to comply with the requirements of this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination in accordance with relevant University policies.

    Questions about this policy should be directed to the Office of the President.

Policy Background:

This policy was originally issued in the BOV minutes 6/2/1978.

Major Category:
Human Resource Management
Next Scheduled Review:
Approved By, Date:
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, 06/05/2008
Revision History:
Added Compliance section 7/20/21; Updated 10/3/16.
Supersedes (previous policy):

University policy on Campaigning for and Serving in an Elected Public Office, University Board of Visitors, June 1978.