Special rules apply to organizations wishing to advertise for political candidates and ballot issues. Because of their relative independence, Voluntary Student Organizations (VSOs) have more flexibility than University departments and Sponsored Student Organizations (SSOs).
University departments may not use University funds or other University resources to support or oppose political candidates or to seek the qualification, passage, or defeat of a ballot initiative. In addition, federal law limits the amount of lobbying activity in which the University may lawfully engage, so any proposed lobbying efforts on behalf of the University must be coordinated with, and approved by, the Office of the Vice President for Government Relations (leaving SORC website).
Sponsored Student Organizations (SSOs)
Because SSOs are treated as units of the university, those organizations are required to comply with the same requirements that would apply to the University itself. As such, SSOs may not use University funds or other University resources to endorse or oppose political candidates or ballot initiatives. SSOs are likewise subject to the lobbying limitations noted above, and any proposed lobbying efforts should first be cleared with the SSO’s sponsor and with the Office of the Vice President for Government Relations (leaving SORC website). More information regarding political activity is available here, courtesy of the Office of the Vice President for Communications.
Central Student Government (CSG) is not permitted to fund the lobbying activities of other student organizations. Click here to see the Use of University Funds policy (leaving SORC website).
Voluntary Student Organizations (VSOs)
VSOs may purchase SORC advertising space for candidate or ballot proposal endorsements or oppositions, including with respect to CSG elections, or to encourage lobbying efforts, provided that the following conditions are met:
- The purchase must be made with non-University funds and must not otherwise involve University resources.
- The VSO must clearly identify itself as the “speaker” in the advertising materials and must not state or imply in any way that it is representing the official views of the University.
- The VSO must otherwise comply with all SORC eligibility requirements.
More information regarding the political activity requirements as applied to student organizations, including SSO- and VSO-specific FAQs, is available at: (seeking new link, January 2015), beginning around page 13.
Regardless of organization status (department, SSO, or VSO), these basic SORC eligibility & content requirements apply. Student organizations: additionally, please see Brand Manager policy for student organization use of UM logo and other marks.
If you have questions, please contact SORC in advance for best results.