Guidelines for Political Candidate Visits to PSU

(adopted April 2003, revised October 2003 and 2006 and September 2007)

Plymouth State University (PSU) is committed to the expression of a wide range of ideas and opinions and to their free discussion. PSU’s integrity as a place of open inquiry necessitates that it remains clear of advocating any particular idea while maintaining the rights and dignity of all, particularly in relation to political partisanship. Political campaign activities will be limited to the discourse of ideas among candidates and the audience. All candidates must officially have filed for the office they are seeking before any arrangements will be made for a campus event. No admission fees will be charged, and no political fundraising events will be entertained on campus. PSU offers the following guidelines for appearances on campus by political candidates for the purpose of political campaigning.

PSU as the hosting institution:

From time to time, especially during New Hampshire’s presidential primary season, the University may sponsor a candidates’ forum or speaker series. Candidates for a national, congressional, or statewide office who officially have filed in New Hampshire will be eligible for an invitation. As a forum, these events will be moderated by a member of the campus community, all candidates present must have equal time to address the audience, and there will be an opportunity for the audience to pose questions to all candidates. These events will be open to the entire campus community and to the public at large. In some cases, it will be necessary to limit the size of the audience due to the capacity of the facility to adhere to fire codes.

  • No compensation will be paid to a candidate.
  • Candidates will cover their own travel expenses, costs of personal/travel security** and any other associated costs.
  • As a guest of PSU, fees for the rental of the facility will be waived.
  • No admission fee will be charged.
  • One non-partisan all employee e-mail and my.Plymouth portal notification will be made announcing the candidate’s visit. Candidates will not have access to campus e-mail distribution lists.
  • Equal time will be given to other candidates in the same political race.

PSU student organization as host:

Officially recognized PSU student organizations may invite a political candidate or candidates for a national, congressional, or statewide office who officially have filed in New Hampshire to speak to their membership or sponsor an event in which the candidate or candidates speak to the campus community. The student organization will be responsible for making all arrangements with the candidate and the University for this event. A member of the student organization must introduce and moderate the event. The candidate or candidates will be allowed to make a statement and must field questions from the audience. If more than one candidate is present, then each candidate will be given equal speaking time and equal opportunity to respond to audience questions.

  • No compensation will be paid to a candidate.
  • Candidates will cover their own travel expenses, costs of personal/travel security** and any other associated costs.
  • No admission fee will be charged.
  • As an invited guest of PSU, fees for the rental of the facility will be waived.
  • The sponsoring student organization will pay any University security as needed.
  • One non-partisan all employee e-mail and my.Plymouth portal notification will be made announcing the candidate’s visit. Candidates will not have access to campus e-mail distribution lists.

Request by candidates:

Candidates for a national, congressional, or statewide office who officially have filed in New Hampshire may request to have a forum on campus. When considering the request, University officials will take into account ongoing operations and previously scheduled demands on space, time and other resources. The candidate will be allowed to address the campus audience and must agree to permit adequate time for responding to questions from the audience. In order to facilitate fairness to all candidates while maintaining minimum disruptions to ongoing and regularly scheduled campus activities, all requests shall be cleared through the office of the Executive Director of University Relations.

  • Candidates will cover their own travel expenses, costs of all security and any other associated costs.
  • Candidates will pay the rental fee for use of PSU facilities, as well as direct costs associated with use of the facility.
  • No admission fee will be charged.
  • One non-partisan all employee e-mail and my.Plymouth portal notification will be made announcing the candidate’s visit. Candidates will not have access to campus e-mail distribution lists.

The above information applies to situations when individuals as political candidates are campaigning on campus for national, congressional or statewide offices. These guidelines offer candidates a setting for delivering their message, for receiving feedback from the campus audience, and for an open airing of ideas.

Process for Booking Political Candidates at PSU:

  • Political event requests sponsored by student organizations should originate in the Office of Student Activities. The Assistant Director for Student Activities – Student Government will assist all student organizations in the preparation and implementation of their politically based programs.
  • Regardless of whether the candidate is an invited guest or the visit is being scheduled by the candidate’s staff, all political visits to campus must be cleared through the office of the Executive Director of University Relations.
  • The Executive Director will work with facility directors to ascertain which suitable facility is available and what fees the candidate will be charged.
  • During the process of negotiations, the Executive Director will convene the members of the political visitor team to discuss issues and arrangements. This team will work with the Executive Director for the planning and implementation of the visit.
  • The PSU Chief of Police or their designee will be responsible and serve as the primary contact agency regarding law enforcement and security issues for political candidate events and appropriate detail assignments. University Police will coordinate all efforts and will serve as the liaison with outside law enforcement agencies. The department also will serve as the primary department contact for all outside law enforcement agencies regarding events on the PSU campus.

The political visitor team will consist of:

  • Executive Director of University Relations
  • PSU Chief of Police or Designee
  • Building Manager of the facility to be used
  • Representative from Student Activities staff if the guest is sponsored by a student group
  • Representative of the sponsoring student group and advisor
  • Student Body President or Vice-President (Student Government rep)
  • Director of Public Relations or Designee
  • Director of Physical Plant or Designee
  • Representative from ITS/Telecom
  • Others as appropriate to the candidate and his/her visit (ie: catering)

Candidate Guidelines while on campus:

  • All members of the press in attendance must have a press pass issued by the PSU Office of Public Relations
  • No in-ground political signs are permitted on campus
  • No political signs may be attached by a candidate or his/her campaign staff to buildings, trees, poles, signs, telephones, and trash receptacles
  • No distribution of political materials may occur on campus by a candidate or his/her campaign staff unless it occurs at an approved event
  • No official Plymouth State University logo or seal may be used in connection with a political event (in print, on a lectern, as a backdrop, etc.)
  • No loud speaker system (ie: bullhorn) may be used on campus by a political candidate or his/her campaign staff

**Personal/Travel Security vs. Campus-based Security When the Institution is the Host:

When the invited candidate is high profile or a current government official requiring specific security protocol, the University will only assume responsibility for the expense equivalent of two, full-time, certified police officers from the PSU police department. PSU will make all best efforts to accommodate each candidate’s security needs so long as they are duly communicated in advance of the visit. PSU will also provide a cost estimate for security staffing that exceeds the institution’s provided coverage and will expect payment in full for security services immediately prior to the speaking engagement on the date of the visit.

Additional Candidate Security and Protection Requirements

As stated previously in this policy, the Chief of University Police or their designee will be responsible to direct and liaison with all outside agencies accompanying candidates on our campus.

Although it is understood that many candidates provide their own security, it will be the decision of the Chief of University Police or their designee as to appropriate staffing levels and security needs for a candidate visit.

In all situations, University Police Officer(s) will be assigned to the candidate’s protection detail. Even Secret Service requires this element of cooperation when a candidate visits our campus under their protection.

Permission must be granted by the Chief of Plymouth State University Police for the member(s) of any “other organization” to possess firearms of any type on the Plymouth State University Campus. This would be exclusive of any appropriately assigned legally sworn law enforcement personnel specifically assigned to the protection detail.

A University Police Officer will also be required to accompany any non-sworn security personnel in their protection services for a candidate who has employed private security personnel for this purpose.

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