The College, as a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, is prohibited from participating or intervening in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office. Political intervention includes financial contributions and the publication or distribution of written or oral statements on behalf of or in opposition to a particular candidate. There are no exceptions to this prohibition.
At the same time, the College is dedicated to the pursuit of truth and acquisition of knowledge through the free expression of ideas, and it encourages students, faculty and staff, in their individual capacities, to participate fully in the political process during campaigns for public office as long as they do not involve the College.
In order to encourage the open exchange of ideas during partisan political campaigns for public office without jeopardizing the College’s tax-exempt status, all members of the College community must comply with the provisions of this policy with respect to their participation in national, state or local political campaigns.
All individuals and groups within the College community are prohibited from using College resources or the College’s name in connection with partisan political campaign activities.
All members of the College community are permitted and encouraged to engage in political activities in their individual capacities. When endorsing or opposing a candidate for political office, or taking a position on an issue for the purpose of endorsing or opposing a candidate for political office, individuals and groups within the College community must not mention their affiliation with the College or, if that affiliation is mentioned, must also make it clear that the views expressed are their own and not the views of the College. This is particularly important for those who frequently speak for the College in their official capacity.
College resources and facilities (including the College’s name, seal, signature, motto, mailing lists, email, email list servers and phone, mail or facsimile systems) may not be used for political campaign events or activities, political endorsements or issue advocacy undertaken for the purpose of supporting or opposing a candidate in a political campaign.
Political fundraising is strictly prohibited at all College events.
- Activities of Student Organizations.
Individual students and student organizations are free to engage in partisan political activities so long as their activities are not construed to express the viewpoint of the College.
- In-Classroom Activities of Faculty Members.
Faculty members are entitled to freedom of expression in the classroom. Faculty members are not prohibited from making partisan political commentary in the classroom to the extent such commentary relates to the subject of instruction and is aimed at developing students’ complete understanding of an issue. Nonetheless, in these instances, faculty members should make clear that the views expressed are those of the faculty member and not of the College. Faculty members should avoid the persistent intrusion of partisan political commentary having no rational bearing on the subject of instruction.
Faculty members are strictly prohibited from (i) penalizing or negatively assessing a student for expressing a political viewpoint that is contrary to, or critical of, the political viewpoint of the faculty member, and (ii) rewarding or otherwise preferentially assessing a student for expressing a political viewpoint that is in agreement with, or supportive of, the political viewpoint of the faculty member.
A faculty member may provide in-classroom opportunities to speak on an equal basis to all legally qualified candidates for a public office, provided that the lecture is conducted in a manner that makes clear that the views expressed during the event are those of the speaker and not the College; the lecture is conducted for the purpose of educating students and not as a campaign rally or event; and the lecture relates to the subject of instruction and is aimed at developing students’ complete understanding of an issue. Candidates may not receive financial remuneration from the College or the faculty member for their in-classroom appearance during a political campaign.
- Use of College Facilities and Resources.
Student organizations may sponsor or host a political campaign event or political candidate, provided that the event is conducted in a manner that makes clear that the views expressed during the event are those of the student organizations and not of the College. A student organization that hosts a political candidate is not required to invite or otherwise provide an opportunity to speak to all candidates seeking that office. All such events must be authorized and supervised by the College. Student organizations may not use the event to conduct political fundraising or a political rally. Additionally, no College funds including Student Senate allocated funds may be used to support fundraising events or activities for political candidates.
The College, an academic department and an organization with official College functions (each, an “Official Organization”) may provide opportunities to speak at College events on an equal basis to all legally qualified candidates for a public office or may conduct a public forum to which all legally qualified candidates for a public office are invited and given equal opportunity to speak. If an Official Organization extends an invitation to a candidate to speak in their capacity as a candidate, it must take steps to ensure that all legally qualified candidates are invited to a substantially similar event. Such events must be conducted in a manner that makes clear that the views expressed during the event are those of the speaker and not of the Official Organization or the College; the event must be conducted for the purpose of educating students (and not as a campaign rally or event); and the format and content of the event must be presented in a neutral manner that does not favor any candidate over the others.
Candidates may not receive any financial remuneration from the College for their appearance during a political campaign.
Official Organizations may invite a candidate for public office to appear at a College event for non-campaign related reasons and without inviting all other qualified candidates, provided that (i) the individual is chosen to speak solely for reasons other than their candidacy for political office, (ii) the individual speaks in their non-candidate capacity, (iii) no reference to the election is made, either by the individual or the Official Organization, and (iv) the Official Organization hosting the event takes reasonable steps to maintain a nonpartisan atmosphere at the event. Campaigning at any such event is prohibited. The Official Organization hosting the event must clearly indicate the capacity in which the individual is appearing, and no mention of the upcoming election should be made, whether at the event or in communications announcing the event. The Official Organization hosting the event must make the following announcement at the beginning and conclusion of the event, "As part of the College’s educational mission and commitment to a liberal arts education, Gettysburg College is pleased to provide today’s forum for respectful discussion. Gettysburg College does not support or oppose [candidate’s name] or any other political candidate and the opinions or viewpoints of the speaker are the speaker’s own and do not represent a statement of the College’s opinions or viewpoints. I respectfully remind you that this is an educational opportunity for students and community members. It is not a political rally and political fundraising at this event is prohibited.”" This announcement must also be included in any advertisements of the event.
External organizations may rent College facilities to host partisan political activities, provided that political fundraising is strictly prohibited at the event.