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Political & Civic Rights

Political and Campaign Activities Policy
Hampshire College has a longstanding tradition of free and open inquiry, and values and protects the freedom of students, faculty, and staff to express political views, to exercise their right to vote, and to participate in the electoral process. At the same time, to retain our status as a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the federal Internal Revenue Code, the College must not directly or indirectly participate or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office.  The prohibition applies to all campaigns including campaigns at the federal, state and local level.  Violation of this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes.

Faculty, students, and staff taking political positions for themselves or groups with which they are associated 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 the College’s behalf.  Because this may restrict certain uses of institutional resources as well as prohibit certain types of statements made on behalf of the College, here is a set of guidelines for Hampshire College community members.  This is not intended to be an exhaustive description of every possible scenario in which the political campaign intervention issue may arise, so if you have any questions about these or other situations, please contact the President’s Office.  In addition, students and student groups planning political or campaign activities should discuss their plans with the Office of Campus Leadership and Activities and the Dean of Students Office.

Members of the Hampshire College community may not:

  • Hold fundraisers for political candidates on College property.
  • Provide a candidate for public office an opportunity to speak on campus or use College-owned facilities unless authorized by the President or designee.  In most cases, all legally qualified candidates for that office must be offered equal access and opportunity to speak.
  • Allow a candidate or political party to conduct a rally or other political event on campus unless authorized by the President or designee. Candidates running for office and/or members of a campaign staff wishing to use college facilities for appearances must comply with established college policies and rental fees, and must go through the Event Services Office for further information and reservations.  No political fundraising is allowed at such an event.
  • Cause the College to make, or to appear to make, an endorsement of, comment on, contribution to, or expenditure for a political candidate or party.
  • Use message boards and forums affiliated with the College’s website to support particular candidates, if the statements can be reasonably attributed to the College, or provide links on Hampshire College websites to the web pages of a political candidate or party.
  • Conduct voter registration or education activities in a partisan manner that favors or opposes certain candidates.
  • Use the Hampshire College letterhead, logo, or seal on materials intended for partisan political purposes.
  • Use College-owned telephones for phone banking on behalf of a candidate or for other similarly significant partisan political uses.  (However, campus residential telephone services, such as in student residence hall rooms, may be used for these purposes.)
  • Use College resources or services, such as interdepartmental mail, e-mail, mailing lists, and equipment such as photocopy machines, computers, and fax machines, or supplies for partisan political purposes.
  • Request that a College employee, as part of their job, perform tasks in any way related to partisan political purposes.
  • Lobby or attempt to influence federal, state, or local legislative action or a legislative or administrative official or staff member on behalf of the College unless authorized by the President or designee.  
  • Use federal funds, including contract or grant money, received by the College for lobbying activities. 

Notification of Jury Duty Law
According to the Office of the Jury Commissioner of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, “Every U.S. Citizen 18 years of age or older who is a Massachusetts resident or an inhabitant for more than 50% of the time is eligible to serve as a juror. If you are a resident of another state but a student at a Massachusetts college, you are an inhabitant for more than 50% of the year and, therefore, eligible to serve as a juror in Massachusetts.” There are no student exemptions from jury duty.

Students should read carefully all materials they receive with their summons to service, which contain helpful information about confirming, postponing, rescheduling, or relocating service, and address many of the most frequently asked questions. Jury duty is an important legal obligation, and those who fail to respond are subject to criminal prosecution. Students who miss class in order to fulfill their jury service requirement should notify each of their instructors of the summons and make arrangements to complete any missed work.

If you have any questions about jury duty, including confirming, postponing, rescheduling, or limiting your service, contact the Office of the Jury Commissioner (1.800.THE.JURY/1.800.843.5879).

Voter Registration
As a part of the Higher Education Amendment, Hampshire College must provide you with the opportunity to register to vote. You may request a mail-in voter registration form online. The Massachusetts form can be used only to register to vote in Massachusetts.

Out-of-state students who want to vote in their home state must use either a mail-in form supplied by an election official in the home state or the federal mail-in affidavit of voter registration. Affidavits may be obtained by writing or calling the Massachusetts Elections Division, Room 1705, McCormack Building, One Ashburton Place, Boston, MA 02108; 617.727.2828 or 800.462.8683.