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Political Activity by APSU Employees

Political Activity by APSU Employees on Campus

Q: Are APSU employees permitted to use university facilities or resources to conduct political activity?

A: No, APSU employees are prohibited by statute, Tenn. Code Ann. § 2-19-201 et seq. “the Little Hatch Act” from using state property, which includes facilities, vehicles, equipment, and other university resources, for political activity.

Q: Can I show my personal support for a candidate on campus?

A. APSU employees are free to express their personal opinions about political subjects and candidates.  Employees may display bumper stickers, decals, signs, etc. on their personal vehicles.

Q:  Can I display campaign material or political memorabilia in my office space?

A:  Tenn. Code Ann. § 2-19-206(a) prohibits state officials and employees from displaying campaign or political advertising on state property. The statute states:

It is unlawful for any elected or appointed official of the state, or any employee of the state or any department, division or agency thereof, to display campaign literature, banners, placards, streamers, stickers, signs or other items of campaign or political advertising on behalf of any party, committee or agency or candidate for political office, on the premises of any building or land owned by the state, or to use any of the facilities of the state, including equipment and vehicles for such purposes.

The State Attorney General has interpreted this as prohibiting the display of campaign materials which are intended to advertise on behalf of current political campaigns, but not campaign memorabilia which are merely intended to stir one's recollection of past political campaigns.

Q:  Are there penalties for not following these rules?

A:  Yes, violation of the Little Hatch Act is a Class C misdemeanor.