Human Resources Policies
HR35 Public Service by Members of the Faculty and Staff
Policy Steward:Vice President for Human Resources>
POLICY'S INITIAL DATE: July 1, 1961
THIS VERSION EFFECTIVE: May 22, 2001
- The University's Public Responsibility
- Kind of Public Service
- Public Service of a Professional Character Defined
- Conditions Under Which Professional Public Service may be Performed
- Notification to the University About Such Service
- Campaigning for Public Office
- Election or Appointment to Public Office
- Endorsement of Political Candidates or Causes
- Cross References
To outline the policy under which a faculty or staff member may provide public service.
Effective democracy requires of every citizen personal participation in political life as a voter, and also as a governmental consultant or official where his or her talents are sought in the public interest. Membership on the faculty or staff of The Pennsylvania State University carries with it additional responsibilities of citizenship which reflect (a) the educator's function as a source of informed, objective counsel, and (b) the compact through which the University receives public funds for use in meeting society's educational and research needs.
The kinds of public service defined are as follows:
- Public service of a professional character,
- Holding public office at any (federal, state, or local) level.
By virtue of their comprehension of certain areas of human knowledge, University personnel may be asked to serve as:
- Expert witnesses whose testimony is sought in establishing, clarifying or interpreting the facts in a matter of public interest.
- Professional members of ad hoc task forces appointed by public officials to prepare factual reports on matters of public interest.
- Professional consultants on matters of personal competence to governmental agencies or task forces.
It is the policy of the University to do what it can, on request, to make its personnel available for public service of a professional character:
- If the individual's University duties can continue to be performed satisfactorily;
- If the individual confines his or her testimony or counsel to matters within his or her professional competence needed by public officials in weighing the relative merits of alternate courses of action; and
- If the individual's remuneration beyond out-of-pocket expense does not infringe on regulations binding on the University.
All personnel requested by public officials to perform such services shall notify their respective deans or administrative officers of the nature and conditions of the assignment, remuneration expected (if any), and the effect the assignment will have on performance of the employee's duties at the University.
Under existing University policies, members of its faculty and staff may campaign for any public office without modification of the terms and conditions of their University status if the campaign does not interfere (in any way deemed significant by officers of the University) with the performance of assigned University duties. If the campaign does interfere with the performance of assigned University duties, the individual must resign from his or her position with the University, or petition for a leave of absence without salary from academic or other non-administrative duties. A leave of absence from administrative duties is not granted to campaign for an elective public office.
In such campaign activities, the individual's relationship to the University is not to be exploited either directly or by indirection.
If elected or appointed, a member of the faculty or staff may accept a public office (e.g., membership on borough councils, local school boards) that does not interfere with the individual's performance of assigned University duties without modification of the terms and conditions of his or her University status.
If elected or appointed to an office that would interfere in any way deemed significant by officers of the University with the performance of assigned University duties, the individual must resign from his or her position with the University, or petition for leave of absence without salary from academic or other non-administrative duties. A leave of absence from administrative duties is not granted to serve in an elective or appointive public office.
Effective democracy provides the right of every private citizen to endorse a specific political candidate or cause. However, such endorsement should not infer or reflect the support of the University for such political candidate or cause.
The University assumes no responsibility for the endorsement of a political candidate or cause by members of its faculty or staff. Except for the limited purpose of identifying the University as the employer of the faculty or staff member making a political endorsement, the name of the University is not to be connected with such an endorsement in any way. No endorsement shall be made on the official stationery of the University, nor on stationery having the University address or a University telephone number.
Other Policies in this Manual should also be referenced, especially:
HR42 - Payment of Personal Compensation by a State Agency or Department of the Commonwealth.
HR80 - Private Consulting Practice.