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Political Activities

Section 108

Smith College is a charitable entity subject to federal, state, and local laws and regulations regarding political and campaign activities. While all members of the college community are free to express political opinions and engage in political activities, it is important that they do so only in their individual capacities and avoid even the appearance that they are speaking or acting for the college in political matters.

Notwithstanding the above, the college does not seek to inhibit the expression of personal political views by any individual in the college community. Faculty, students, and staff may support candidates for office or in furtherance of political causes. There is no restriction on discussion of political issues or teaching of politics or campaign-related topics.

This policy statement addresses campaigns for political office and provides specific guidelines on activities related to campaigns. It also addresses how individuals can avoid having their personal opinions appear to be those of the college as an entity. The following statements provide the foundation for the more specific guidelines:

  • Individuals taking political positions for themselves or groups with which they are associated, but not as representatives of the college, should clearly indicate, by words and actions, that their positions are not those of the college and are not being taken in an official capacity on behalf of the college.
  • During election campaigns, auditoriums or other facilities may be used by the college, or groups affiliated with the college, for public forums provided that all legally qualified candidates for a public office, or for the nomination of a particular party, are invited and given equal access and opportunity to speak.
  • The college is legally prohibited from endorsing candidates for political office or making any contribution of money, goods, or services to candidates; therefore, it is important that no person intentionally or unintentionally cause the college to make such an endorsement or contribution.

The Office of College Relations, in consultation with the Office of the President, interprets and applies these policies and guidelines. All questions on whether planned activities are consistent with the college's obligations should be addressed directly to the Executive Director of Public Affairs.

For more information, please visit the College Council on Community Policy website.

Use of the Smith College Name and the Seal

Neither the name nor seal of the college or of any of its departments may be used on letters or other materials intended for partisan political purposes.