Dear students, faculty, and staff,
Welcome back to spring semester! This message reviews important University of Utah policies and regulations that all university faculty, staff and students are expected to follow. As the Utah Legislature’s 2024 General Session will convene on January 16, please take a moment to review the university’s policies regarding political activity.
This email is part of a series of policy and resource notifications that are distributed over the course of the academic year. It also provides information about critical campus resources. We recommend you retain the email for future reference. You also can find this information, along with past notifications, here.
Reminder on political activity by university employees
- Legislative communications by university employees: University of Utah employees are required to comply with the state’s executive order and Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) policy on “legislative communications.” In general, the executive order and USHE policy prohibit university employees, while acting in their official capacities, from engaging in “legislative communications” (i.e., communications with a state legislator regarding the passage or defeat of a specific bill, resolution, amendment or other matter pending before the Utah Legislature). The university president may authorize employees to engage in legislative communications for the limited purpose of explaining technical concepts or providing subject-matter expertise.
- The executive order and the USHE policy do not prohibit university employees from speaking on matters of public concern as private citizens on their own time and with their own resources (e.g., personal email instead of UMail; personal letterhead instead of university letterhead; etc.).
- Use of university’s name or university affiliation: Faculty members and staff must avoid exploiting the university’s name, brand or their own relationship with the university for personal reasons unrelated to their legitimate academic or professional activities. They must not intentionally create the impression, in public appearances or statements, that they are representing the university unless, in fact, they are.
- These policies do not preclude faculty from promoting or speaking about their research areas as subject matter experts in their field, including interviews with reporters, participating in podcasts or writing op-eds. More information about academic freedom and free speech policies on campus can be found here.
This policy has several practical implications
- All University of Utah employees have the right to free speech on matters of public concern and are free to lobby or support candidates, issues, and campaigns.
- The university remains neutral on all election-related questions and issues and on political, social, or unsettled issues that do not directly relate to the university’s mission, role, or pedagogical objectives.
- Employees who engage in political activities must do so outside of work hours (or while on approved leave), and they must use their own resources. This means that employees should not use university email accounts, university letterhead, university office supplies and equipment or other university resources to engage in these activities. In addition, employees are expected to make it clear that they are speaking on their own behalf and not on behalf of the university.
Safety and safety resources
- SafeU: The SafeU website is a broad institutional effort to prioritize and advance safety on campus. It provides easily accessible and comprehensive information on a range of topics, from how to report a sexual assault to where to learn about bystander intervention training.
- Security escorts: Available 24/7 for campus community members who feel unsafe traveling around campus and want a personal escort from a campus security officer can call 801-585-COPS (2677)
- SafeRide: Provides a safe and reliable shuttle service on campus to ensure safety during night hours. Please visit Commuter Services website or call (801) 581-6415 for more information.
- Firearms on campus: The Firearms on Campus training, first launched in 2019, has been refreshed and updated to provide guidance for reporting weapons or the possibility of a weapon on campus. In addition to being required for all staff and faculty, this training is also available to students.
- Counseling and support: Numerous counseling and support resources are available on campus for faculty, staff and students. Employees can access resources here and here. Students click here for a list of resources.
- Tobacco-free campus: The University of Utah is a tobacco-free campus. Click here to read the rule.
- Outside employment: All employees of the university holding full-time positions shall give full services to the work of the university during scheduled work periods. All non-university employment must not interfere with the discharge of the person’s full-time service obligations to the university. It is expected that all full-time university staff members will treat the university as their prime employment activity. For additional information, see policy 5-204.
- Ethics and Compliance Hotline : The university is committed to the highest standards of ethical conduct and encourages faculty and staff to report any dishonest or improper act that violates the law, wastes money or endangers public health or safety. Reporting through customary management channels is preferred. As an additional option, the university contracts with an independent service to provide a hotline that guarantees anonymity if desired. You can submit a confidential report of concerns related to ethics and compliance here. All reports are reviewed and followed up as appropriate.
- Non-Discrimination: The University of Utah is committed to enhancing the success of faculty, students, and staff, as part of our broader goal to enrich the educational experiences and success of all members of our university community.
- Sexual misconduct reporting : Faculty and staff have a responsibility to inform the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (OEO/AA) when they are made aware of incidents of sexual misconduct, discrimination, and related retaliation to ensure that members of the university community who experience this behavior are informed about the processes to address misconduct, and available support. Incidents may come to the attention of faculty and staff in any way, including through face-to-face conversations, admissions or scholarship applications or essays, a written class assignment or paper, class discussion, email, text, or social media post. This obligation to inform applies regardless of where or when an incident occurred, including if it occurred off campus and/or before they were a member of the campus community. Additional information can be found on the OEO website or you may contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 801-581-8365. To seek support confidentially, contact the Victim-Survivor Advocates at 801-581-7776 or email@example.com.
- Abusive Conduct and a Culture of Respect : The University of Utah is committed to an academic and work environment that promotes, facilitates, and encourages mutual respect and collegial relationships. The university is committed to maintaining and promoting trust amongst all university employees in an ongoing effort by all employees to be collectively responsible, set a positive example, and treat each other with professionalism, courtesy, civility, and respect in all interactions. This maintains the strong culture that is vital for the success of the individual as well as the whole organization. The university complies with state laws that prohibit Abusive Conduct in the workplace.
- Travel registration: University Rule R3-030D (International Travel Safety and Insurance) requires registration for all international travel that is sponsored, funded, coordinated and/or managed by the university, whether individually or as the leader of a student group. Failure to abide by Rule R3-030D exposes the university and its faculty, staff, and students to an unacceptable level of risk, while also skirting protections for individual health and safety. All international travel participants are required to do the following:
- Register their university-related travel at least three weeks prior to the departure date.
- Enroll in university-affiliated international and emergency evacuation insurance.
- Abide by all active travel warnings and restrictions.
As we work, learn, and study this year, we are confident that our community will become ever stronger in its ability to create an environment where all can thrive as we learn and educate, generate new knowledge, engage with our local and global communities and provide world-class health care. We look forward to all of the good things yet to come.
Mitzi M. Montoya
Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Michael L. Good
Senior Vice President for Health Sciences