Political Activity and Use of College Facilities

Students are responsible for knowing the following:

Like most educational institutions, Occidental College permits the use of its facilities on an impartial basis for political activities, on the following conditions:

Use of Facilities

College-recognized student organizations may use the College’s facilities consistent with this policy and the “Campus Events Coordinated by Students" policy.  However, to the extent outside organizations (including those with members who are students of the College) wish 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.

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 campus. To the extent College-owned equipment and facilities, including the Copy Center and the College computer system, are used for the preparation, reproduction and/or dissemination of such materials for on-campus distribution, proper and appropriate charges shall be made and collected for all facilities and services provided.

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.Organizations are prohibited from soliciting funds in the name of the College to be used in off-campus political campaigns.

To be clear, all members of the community may participate or not, as they see fit, in the election process, and their rights as a private citizen will in no way be impaired by the College. In addition, this policy requires the following:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Student organizations that use social media or other means to communicate about political issues must include the following statement in a location readily available to viewers and followers:
    • “The opinions expressed on this social media account do not reflect those of, and are not sanctioned by, Occidental College."

This policy applies to students, faculty, and all other members of the College community.

 

Last updated August 7, 2017