Political Activities

University System of Georgia (USG) employees are encouraged to fulfill their civic obligations and engage in the normal political processes of society, including the right to express their personal opinions on matters of public concern, and nothing in BOR policy is intended to infringe or restrict free expression rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution or the Georgia Constitution.

Employee Expression of Political Opinions – BOR Policy

A USG employee engaging in political activities and/or associated political expression must do so only in their personal capacity and shall not speak on behalf of the USG or its institutions or hold themselves out as representing the USG or its institutions, unless specifically authorized by the USG or the employee’s institution, as applicable. USG employees must take reasonable steps to avoid any appearance that such political activities and/or associated political expression represents the views of, or is endorsed by, the USG or its institutions. In addition, USG employees are prohibited from using state property, resources, or materials (including work email) or work time to communicate personal political views or in conjunction with any political campaigning. USG employees are also prohibited from using any USG registered trademarks when expressing personal opinions on political issues, unless they are expressly authorized to do so.

USG employees are not prohibited from noting in a biographical description their employment status, title, or affiliation with the USG or their institution, or their background and credentials, but if an employee does so, the employee must make clear that the employee is not speaking in the employee’s capacity as an employee of the USG or the employee’s institution. Likewise, employees may choose to take accrued leave to engage in political expression or activities, but such expression or activities should not use university resources or occur in a manner suggesting the employee is acting in their capacity as an employee.

Employee Involvement in Political Campaigns – BOR Policy

It is inappropriate for USG employees to manage or enter political campaigns while on duty to perform services for the USG or to hold elective political office at the state or federal level while employed by the USG. Any USG employee seeking federal or state elective office must notify his or her direct supervisor and request a leave of absence without pay beginning prior to qualification as a candidate in a primary or general election and ending after the general or final election. If elected to state or federal office, a USG employee must resign prior to assuming office. A USG employee may seek and hold elective office at other than the state or federal level, or seek and hold an appointive office, when doing so does not conflict or interfere with the employee’s duties and responsibilities to the USG or the employee’s institution, as applicable.

Additionally, USG employees must not hold themselves out as speaking or acting on behalf of the USG or its institutions when participating in political activities and campaigns and must take reasonable measures to avoid any appearance that such participation is in an official capacity as an employee of the USG or its institutions.

Use of Institution Facilities in Political Campaigns – BOR Policy 6.14.1

During campaign season, political candidates often seek to engage in campaign activities on USG campuses. Under BOR Policy 6.14.1, the President of each institution may authorize the use of institution facilities for political speeches; however, these events must be sponsored by recognized organizations of the institution and can be held only at places designated by the President. At no time can USG materials, supplies, equipment, machinery, or vehicles be used in political campaigns. This includes the use of student activity fee funding allocated to a registered organization to pay event space fees for a political campaign event or other campaign expenses.