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Event Planning Guide

Political Activities

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Policy Details

Stanford University supports the expression and discussion of ideas and opinions and encourages members of the University community to be informed and engaged citizens.  At the same time, however, Stanford is subject to federal, state, and local laws and regulations regarding political activities such as campaign activities, lobbying, and the giving of gifts to public officials.  This results in part because of the University’s status as a non-profit 501(c)(3) entity. 

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Event Planning Guidelines

Recognized student organizations have the privilege of sponsoring events in the name of Stanford provided that they follow university policy, stay true to their approved mission and scope and work in close coordination with the university. 

Additional Information

These laws and regulations limit the political activities (such as supporting or opposing a particular candidate for election) that can take place in Stanford facilities, on Stanford land, or with Stanford support. For this reason, any political activities on the Stanford campus must be consistent with Administrative Guide Memo 1.5.1.

These limitations in no way inhibit the expression of personal political views by any individual within the University community.

These policies also apply to all virtual events, webinars and symposia using varied software technologies.

Because the laws relating to political activities are complex, all Stanford registered student organizations wishing to engage in such activities should consult with the Office of Student Engagement, which will consult in turn with other University offices such as the Office of Special Events & Protocol, as appropriate. For additional information on particular political activities, see Election Season Reminder – Guidelines for Political Activities Memo.

One particular area to note involves proposed speeches by candidates on campus.  Before inviting candidates (those who are current officeholders and/or who are candidates for an election) as speakers for a campus event, Stanford registered student organizations must first meet with an advisor from Office of Student Engagement. During campaign periods, further procedural approval may be necessary to proceed. 

Please see all pertinent information from the Office of Special Events and Protocol. For additional information on the use of White Plaza more generally, please see the White Plaza Policy.

Main Quad architectural details, 2023. Credit: Micaela Go