UMaine System Revises Proposed Policy Governing Political Activities

Jan 29, 2018

The University of Maine System Board of Trustees is still working on refining its policy on political activity by employees.

The recently unveiled draft policy has drawn criticism from faculty and others because of fears they'd be prohibited from expressing their views and engaging in the political process.

Speaking at the UMaine System Board of Trustees meeting this morning, University General Counsel Jim Thelan said the resulting review process that's sought input from faculty, staff and students has been positive. "I do believe this has been a really good example of engagement."

A revised draft presented at Monday's meeting changes some of what many found most troubling - including softening language that required employees' political or legislative speech in their professional roles to be coordinated with the chancellor's office.

It's now made clear that faculty, staff and students aren't restricted from speaking on political matters involving their areas of expertise or personal experience, as long as they don't represent themselves as speaking for the UMaine system.

UMS officials say the policy is intended, in part, to protect it from losing its non-profit status. A final vote on the policy is expected in March.