This policy was last updated April 7, 2017.
The Neutrality Policy
The Indiana University Trustee election is held June 1st to June 30th. When June 30 falls on a Sunday, the election will close on the last business day of June.
Working closely with the Office of the Dean of University Libraries, the IUAA provides the mechanism for voting, raises awareness of the election, and promotes voting among graduates of Indiana University.
Given the close role the IUAA plays in the conduct of the Trustee Election, the IU Alumni Association must take great care to remain neutral in the election process while encouraging active participation. This means that IUAA employees and recognized alumni groups — when acting officially on behalf of the IU Alumni Association — must maintain neutrality among the candidates in all of their communications.
Endorsement of candidates by IUAA employees and recognized alumni groups during the election process is highly problematic as it may be perceived not as a personal opinion, but as an endorsement by IUAA. It could leave candidates vulnerable to accusations of unduly compelling or pressuring IUAA employees to support their candidacies. Conversely, it may create professional awkwardness post-election in the event that the candidate an IUAA employee or alumni group endorsed is not elected. Collectively, endorsement of candidates by IUAA employees and recognized alumni groups ultimately could undermine confidence and credibility in the Trustee Election.
This memorandum is not intended to restrict or hamper IUAA employees and elected IU alumni leaders, when acting on their own behalf, from actively supporting the candidate of their choice. However, staff and alumni leaders must remain aware of their affiliation with the IUAA when making individual decisions that could be perceived as endorsements.
We are continually reviewing this policy and we welcome conversation and discussion as IU’s special legacy of elected alumni representation on the IU Board of Trustees continues to evolve.
Guidance for employees and volunteers
The Indiana University Alumni Association engages in a variety of activities to raise awareness and encourage voting in the Trustee Election. Alumni leaders and groups are encouraged to invite trustee candidates to alumni events and engage in other activities that encourage IU graduates to vote in the election. Please note the following guidelines in the conduct of these activities:
- Alumni leaders and groups are encouraged to invite trustee candidates to alumni events and engage in other activities that encourage fellow IU graduates to vote in the election. All candidates should be provided a fair and equal opportunity to participate in activities designed to raise awareness of and voting in the election. Leaders and groups hosting such events are advised to develop and provide all candidates who participate in these activities a clear and common set of “rules of engagement” to ensure all candidates are given the same opportunity to participate, present issues, and exchange views.
- Communications that mention a particular person’s candidacy must also mention all other candidates’ names, and direct readers to the election website: http://TrusteeElection.iu.edu
- Speakers at alumni events may announce that a particular guest is running for trustee, but the speaker also must mention all other candidates prominently.
- IUAA employees, the Board of Managers, Executive Council and other IUAA-recognized alumni communities (affiliate groups, chapters, and constituent societies) must not formally endorse or support individual candidates for IU Trustee. This policy includes signing candidate petitions, since it is too easily misconstrued as endorsement or support.
- Candidates are encouraged to use social media forums using tools such as Facebook, Twitter, and the like. It is appropriate for candidates to use social media to communicate to alumni their qualifications for the Trustee role they are seeking. Social media is an effective means for alumni leaders and groups to promote awareness and encourage voting.
- Employees and alumni volunteers regularly use social media and should consider their role when interacting with social media, since the distinction between personal and professional views are easily obscured in social media. IUAA employees and elected members of IUAA-recognized groups may follow the personal pages of a given candidate, they should not endorse, follow, or “favorite” or “like” pages created specifically to advance the candidacy of a particular individual, since such actions can be construed as endorsement of a particular candidate. Expressed opinions regarding individual candidates must be qualified along the lines of, “This is my personal opinion, and does not represent the position of the IU Alumni Association.”
- IUAA staff and volunteers may not provide the email addresses, phone numbers, or postal addresses of IU alumni to candidates. This is prohibited by Indiana University data use policies and practices.