Faculty / Staff Handbook XI

XI. Communications and Government Relations

XI.A. Official Announcements

XI.B. Institutional Public Statements and News Releases

XI.C. Political Activities

XI.D. Campus Visits by Candidates for Political Office

XI.E. Press Conferences

XI.F. Guidelines on the Naming of Buildings, Grounds, and Schools

XI.G. Publications

XI.H. Banners and Signs

XI.A. Official Announcements

BingUNews is an online news source published by the Office of Communications and Marketing. It carries official announcements, news articles, news releases and other items of interest to the campus community. The Office of Communications and Marketing also distributes Dateline, a weekday electronic news service including calendar of events, to faculty and staff; B-line, a similar communication, is emailed to students weekdays during the academic year, when classes are in session. B-Line is not distributed during summer or winter breaks.

XI.B. Institutional Public Statements and News Releases

Any public statement emanating from the University carries with it the possibility of benefit or damage to colleagues and to the institution. Therefore, all official public statements or news releases should be issued through the Office of Communications and Marketing.

XI.C. Political Activities

While employees are encouraged to participate in the political process, there must be a clear separation between their private political activities and their public role as faculty and staff of the University. Employees may not use their official position or University property to advocate for or support a political candidate.  Employees, however, are permitted to advocate and support a political candidate in their personal time. 

There can be neither the endorsement nor the appearance of an endorsement of a candidate or use of state or Foundation funds by the University as a whole or by its administration, faculty or staff for political campaign purposes.   The University and its representatives, acting in their personal capacity, shall take or refuse any action that can be interpreted to aid or hinder a political candidate.

Employees and applicants to the University must not be asked about their political beliefs or affiliations, including whether said individual has made political contributions or voted. Employees cannot be forced or pressured to contribute to a party or candidate or vote for a particular candidate. 

XI.D. Campus Visits by Candidates for Political Office

Consistent with the SUNY Board of Trustees’ policy on non-commercial use of facilities (SUNY Policy No. 5603) and the SUNY Office of General Counsel August 26, 2020 memorandum, the following is Binghamton University’s policy regarding Political Activities on Campus.  This policy supersedes all prior guidance and policies issued by the University. (See SUNY Policy)

The First Amendment must be protected and always enforced on campus.  Binghamton University, as a public institution, recognizes the importance and benefits of exposing students to political discourse and information.  The University welcomes political speech on campus in accordance with the following provisions.

Candidates for public office are welcome at Binghamton University. As visitors to the University or guests of an academic department or student group, candidates may tour the campus, deliver speeches, and brief the student and external press. If candidates are not invited by an academic department or student group, arrangements for the visit must be coordinated by the Conference and Event Services Office. If requested, the Office of Communications and Marketing will inform the campus and the media of the appearance of a candidate invited by a campus organization in the same manner that a visit by any other notable speaker is publicized.

The University may limit political speech on campus due to clearly prohibited harassment or threats of violence.  Campus facilities will not be made available for advocacy directed to or inciting/producing imminent lawless action. All other restrictions on political speech must be based on neutral time, place and manner restrictions.  All requests to use campus facilities for political purposes must be guided by principles of viewpoint neutrality and even-handed treatment.  This applies to all terms and conditions of use, including but not limited to, costs, security and insurance.  If a campus or a student group invites a candidate to campus, a similar outreach should be made to other bona fide candidates for invitation to the same or a similar event or opportunity.

According to the the above-referenced SUNY Policy No. 5603, partisan political organizations may be permitted the use of University facilities subject to the above guidelines and if (1) the proposed use gives promise of contributing to the educational purposes of the University;  and (2) that the University sees a reasonable possibility of making the facilities available for other viewpoints to be presented.

Candidates who are seeking the votes of individuals on campus may campaign in all public areas, including all streets, walkways, and parking lots. Candidates may also meet potential supporters in the main lobby of the University Union. Candidates shall refrain from disturbing students, faculty and staff in the libraries, in classrooms, in offices and in their private living quarters in residence halls. The Office of Communications and Marketing will not participate in arranging publicity or making media contacts for an event sponsored by a partisan political organization.

Any candidate who is invited to campus in her/his role as an active elected official, must refrain from campaigning on campus and there can be no commentary on the merits of her/his candidacy.   

Candidates and/or their sponsoring organizations must comply with campus policies requiring that any extraordinary expenses (security, room setup and cleanup, and the like) be reimbursed to the University. Consistent with the University's "Guidelines for Hosting Campus Events Requiring Extraordinary Security Arrangements," (q.v.) the sponsoring organization is responsible for providing the appropriate administrative officers with a complete itinerary of the speaker's visit and discussing with University Police any necessary security precautions. 

Solicitation of campaign contributions is prohibited at all times.

XI.E. Press Conferences

Some University visitors or announcements may be of special interest to the press. The general purpose of a press conference is to efficiently coordinate press coverage. A press conference for noteworthy and interesting visitors or announcements will also generate favorable exposure for the University within the region.

When there is reason to believe that press interest exists or will develop, the University member responsible for the item should consult with the Office of Communications and Marketing about arranging a press conference or a series of press interviews. Anyone involved should be contacted in advance by the University member responsible, should be informed that the University is considering a press conference and should be given an opportunity to indicate any preference regarding such an arrangement. If there are objections, no press interviews will be scheduled.

XI.F. Guidelines on the Naming of Buildings, Grounds and Schools

In giving an official name to Binghamton University's buildings, grounds or to identifiable portions of buildings and outdoor campus areas, and in giving an additional name to a school of the University, the following criteria will be used.

  1. The name should advance the reputation as well as increase the understanding of and public support for the University and its programs.
  2. The name should honor an individual or group of individuals, an organization, a geographic area or a political subdivision that has a definable and significant connection with Binghamton University's history, academic programs, research projects, public services or development priorities.
  3. The name should not confuse the public about the location or function of the designated building, area or school, but rather should enhance a visitor's ability to identify, locate and use it.
  4. An additional name for a school shall incorporate a functionally related name (e.g., The Bartle School of Library Science). The name will be proposed by the president to the Binghamton University Council according to the procedure established by the University and in conformance with the guidelines established by the Board of Trustees of the State University of New York.

The president's proposal to the council will be accompanied by:

  1. a statement that clearly demonstrates that the proposed name, be it of a person, group of persons, an organization, a geographic area or political subdivision, has a significant relationship to the University and its development priorities;
  2. the recommendation of the president, which, in giving an additional name to a school or unit of the University, shall be made after consultation with the faculty and staff of the unit involved. In accordance with SUNY Board of Trustees policy (Policy Handbook, section 070), the Binghamton University Council shall forward its recommendation on the naming of buildings or grounds or on the additional name to be given to a school or other unit of the campus for consideration by the Chancellor of the State University, and for submission to the Trustees of the State University for appropriate action if necessary.

XI.G. Publications

https://www.binghamton.edu/operations/policies/policy-502.html

XI.H. Banners and Signs

https://www.binghamton.edu/operations/policies/policy-411.html