Political Activity and Use of College Facilities
Students are responsible for knowing the following:
Like most educational institutions, Occidental College has traditionally recognized and provided facilities on an impartial basis for political activities, including activities organized in the interests of a political party or candidate for elective office. Such activities are acceptable under the condition that they are sponsored and conducted by a student organization or sponsored by the College as an institution. However, to the extent that these organizations permit nonmembers of the College community to avail themselves of College facilities or services, the College requires that appropriate charges are made and collected for all facilities and services provided. Extraordinary or prolonged use of College facilities, particularly by nonmembers of the College community, even with reimbursement, is inappropriate. Organizations are prohibited from soliciting funds in the name of the College to be used in off-campus political campaigns.
In light of existing federal regulations and legislation passed by Congress, it is necessary to make clear the intent to which certain types of activities may render the College liable under the law. Specifically, the exemption of colleges and universities from federal income taxes is predicated on the assumption that they are organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable or educational purposes, as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Legislation passed as part of the Tax Reform Act of 1969 extends the limitation on political activities by tax-exempt institutions, and absolutely proscribes participation in or intervention by such institutions in any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office.
The circumstances described above necessitate guidelines relating to political activities by students, faculty, and other members of the College community. The guidelines are promulgated with the understanding that every member of the community may participate or not, as she/he sees fit, in the election process, and that her/his rights as a private citizen will in no way be impaired by the College.
- No member of the College community may speak or act in the name of the College in a political campaign or demonstration. Those who, in their official capacity, frequently speak for the College should specifically undertake to make it clear, when expressing individual views, that they are not stating the position of the College. Those holding elective or appointive office in organizations affiliated with the College should similarly exercise appropriate caution, both with respect to their expression of individual views and with respect to the position of the organizations within the College that they may represent.
- College-owned equipment and facilities, including the Copy Center and the College computer system, may not be used for the preparation and reproduction of materials to be distributed beyond the campus in support of a political party, ballot proposition, or candidate for elective office.
- To the extent that College-owned equipment and facilities, including the Copy Center and the College computer system, are used for the preparation, reproduction and dissemination of such materials for on-campus distribution, proper and appropriate charges shall be made and collected for all facilities and services provided.
- Extraordinary or prolonged use of College facilities for political purposes, even with reimbursement, will not be permitted. Student body funds, assessed and collected by the College, may not be used for contributions to any political party, for support or opposition of any ballot proposition, or for support or opposition to any candidate for public office.
Last updated June 12, 2012
- Phone: (323) 259-2969